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.
Here is part two of a three-part series where a young person who benefitted from a Jewish Foundation scholarship shares their experiences.
Mia Sandberg, of Woodbridge | Israel Experience Scholarship Recipient
This past summer, I experienced an once-in-a-lifetime journey. I was lucky enough to travel around Israel with all of my best friends through the Sam Cohen Foundation’s Dor L’Dor program, I learned and experienced more than I ever imagined I would. I have anticipated this trip ever since I began sleep-away camp, seven years ago, as it’s the last summer our group spends together before becoming counselors. I tried my best to prepare for every early morning hike, and the daily 100-degree weather, but nothing prepared me for the journey I embarked on. It is nearly impossible to share every small and incredible detail of my five-week trip, but I will do my best.
Our amazing and jam-packed day-to-day itinerary helped make sure we didn’t waste a second while traveling around Israel. Our first stop was Jerusalem, which helped us get the initial feel of Israel, the place we all learned about throughout the years. I saw a significant number of rabbis, cats, and temples in this city!
As the journey continued, I was able to explore other aspects of Israel including many amazing and inspiring museums and historical sites. I was also able to learn about and dive deeper into the history of my religion and people. To be able to stand on the Holy Land and recognize all of the sacrifices that were made for me to be here made the experience even more special and life-changing for me.
This trip allowed me to get the full experience of Israel. I went from bartering at shuks, to swimming in the Dead Sea and being covered in mud, to waking up at 3 a.m. to hike through the Negev. I was able to meet different types of Jews, like Ethiopian Jews who traveled thousands of miles on foot just to reach the Holy Land. I volunteered with children in need of heart surgery and had many conversations and instruction on becoming an effective leader in my community.
Overall, this indescribable five-week journey helped shape me to become the proud Jew that I am today. With my new knowledge about my culture and history, I am excited to share all of my experiences with the people around me. I can’t thank the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven enough for their generosity and for helping make my dream to visit Israel a reality.
For more information on Foundation scholarships, go to: jewishnewhaven.org/scholarships.