By Dan Lange, Director, URJ Youth Programs
NFTY in Israel is an epic adventure into the story of our people. Whether you are joining us on our Adventure program, on L’dor V’dor with an extra week in Europe, focusing on Sports or Science and Technology or Social Justice on Mitzvah Corps Israel, you will have the opportunity to delve into history, physically walking through the sites where so much happened so long ago.
Sure, you can just show up to the airport, bags packed and ready to go, but with a little bit of preparation, you can get so much more out of your experience. Below are a few tips to think about before you begin your summer adventure with us (in just 4 months!):
1. Learn your family story.
NFTY in Israel is, at its core, a celebration of who we are as a Jewish people. Am Yisrael, the people of Israel, is all of us – we are a large, international Jewish family. Have a conversation, using the guiding questions below, about your family’s history. By understanding who you are and where your family comes from, you will be better equipped to engage with who we are as a Jewish family. We hope you will also find the conversation interesting and thought-provoking, and that it will be a joyous opportunity to reflect on your family.
- Where were you (NFTY in Israel participant) born?
- Where were your parents born?
- Where were your grandparents born?
- Where were your great-grandparents born?
- Where did your family live before coming to the United States?
- How many generations back did your family come to the United States?
- What do you know about the cities or towns or countries your family is from?
- What do you want to know about your family history?
- How far back in your family tree can you go? How many generations? How many years?
- What do you hope to learn about yourself on your NFTY in Israel adventure? About your family? About the Jewish people?
2. Set your own expectations.
As you think about the summer to come – what do you hope to get out of it? What are your personal hopes and goals? When you return home, what do you want to be able to share about your adventure with your family and friends? By taking the time to think about these and other questions now, you’ll enter the experience prepared to get the most you can out of it, ready to learn and grow as a human being and a Jew.
3. Open yourself to new experiences.
Without doubt, you’ll try new things this summer. Take the time now to prepare yourself to be open to doing so. An adventure in Israel as a high school student is the time to let yourself do things that feel challenging or out of your personal box of comfort. It’s okay to push yourself – and our staff will be there by your side this summer to help you when you do. Be willing to try that food that you just aren’t sure about, to hike that extra little bit to get to the top of the mountain or to meet that new person on your bus. At the end, you’ll be glad you did!
As you prepare for your summer experience – what other preparation are you thinking about doing to make the most of it? Let us know!