Recognizing the impact of Israel travel/ experiences, the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven provides scholarships for both short-term (minimum of three-week program) and long-term organized Israel educational programs for Greater New Haven area youth, ages 14-19. For 2018 summer trips, applications are due by March 9. For 2018- 2019 gap or academic-year programs, applications are due May 4.
By Sophia Bruce
Special to Shalom New Haven
In July, Habonim Dror North flew 70 Jewish teens to Israel. We were on a mission to interact with all of the country’s inhabitants to gain perspective, to explore our individual connections to Zionism, and to create bonds between us. We spent that first night at Kibbutz Ravid in the quiet hills of Emek HaYarden, the lights of Tiberias blanketing the Kinneret to the east. The kibbutz was run by HaNoar HaOved VeHalomed and was populated both by Israelis in the sister movement and by motivated Habonim Dror members, who had made aliyah. The kibbutz was a functioning actualization of labor Zionism. That night I met the kids that I would sweat through 109-degree hikes with, build rafts with to sail across the Kinneret and whisper with in hostel bathrooms. I met the kids I would argue with about our identities as diaspora Jews, and hug 20 times over before leaving. Dana from Pennsylvania zipped through the Jerusalem markets with me, taste-testing every halva flavor. Akwe from California clambered over boulders and bushes in the Negev. Josh from New York argued in rapid Hebrew with Mitzpe Ramon locals about Madonna. Shani from Vancouver, Brian from Maryland, and Hannah from Virginia stomped and spun to Israeli rap in a Haifa street. We will shape the movement together, build together, and some of us will make aliyah together. On this trip I met the future of Habonim Dror, and embraced its ideals.