• How to Talk with Teens about Israel: A Framing for Embracing Complexity

    By Rabbi Reuven Greenvald, Director of Israel Engagement, URJ Israel engagement for young people, like every aspect of Jewish engagement, requires each new generation to make it their own. Although we sometimes talk about Israel’s complexity as one of the most difficult educational challenges in Jewish education, it really is part of the same package of […]


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  • Teaching NFTY in Israel Teens about the real Israel

    It is October in Jerusalem, the weather is beautiful, and we are now completing the itineraries for our fun packed and educationally enriching Israel adventures for NFTY in Israel Summer 2019. The educational aspect of the program is intentionally constructed to reflect the best progressive Jewish values of the Union for Reform Judaism. One of the most significant upgrades is that we are presenting a more nuanced and sophisticated encounter with the complexities and conflicts in Israeli society today.


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  • The Five Ws of Mitzvah Corps Israel

    You! And other cool people! You’ll be traveling with peers from around the country who are as passionate about making a positive change in the world as you are. And to make it even better, at every stop along the way, you’ll meet incredible locals from different cultures, religions, ethnicities, and perspectives, all of whom are creating innovative solutions to challenges in their communities.


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  • The Power of the Sukkah

    This past Sunday marked the last day of Sukkot. There are few holidays in Israel that are as powerful as Sukkot, a holiday that makes you feel as though you are living in the Torah. In Israel, Sukkot is not just a two day festival, but it is a seven day holiday known as “Z’man Simchatenu/A Time of Our Happiness”, a  festival where businesses shut down and everyone in the country takes vacation. You see sukkahs (booths) suddenly appearing all over the country, and not only in people’s homes, but in falafel shops and schwarma stands, too.


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  • Summer 2019 is on the horizon

    With summer officially over as of this past Saturday, we are already thinking about Summer 2019! In just nine short months, our first groups will be departing on flights across the Atlantic to begin their epic journeys into the story of our people. They’ll explore, hike, eat delicious food, meet amazing people, conquer challenges, and much more on their 3, 4 or 5-week adventures through Israel.


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  • 5 Ways to Break Your Fast Israeli-Style

    Fresh, unripened cheeses are a staple of Israeli diets, so it’s no wonder they make it into an Israeli break fast! Plus it’s light, tasty, and makes a great alternative to cream cheese on that American break fast staple, the bagel. This recipe takes just a few minutes of cooking time followed by an hour-and-a-half of waiting for the liquid to drain. It keeps well in the fridge, if you want to make it ahead.


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  • On Yom Kippur, Hearing Isaiah’s Prophetic Voice at the Kotel

    On Yom Kippur, when haftarah readers all over the world will raise their voices in chant – so-lu so-lu… build up build up a highway – the symbolic image of Isaiah’s highway translates in my mind to the major roadways crisscrossing Israel today. Road-building and highway expansions in Israel are a good sign for the country’s overall economic health.


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  • How I Went from Participant to Professional

    Another successful NFTY in Israel summer has come to an end. With Facebook memories and Timehop, I can’t help but to reflect on my own NFTY in Israel experience eight years ago in the summer of 2010. While I always had a passion for non-profit work and a deep connection to Judaism and Israel, never did I think I would be sitting here working for NFTY in Israel, years later, helping families send their teens on this journey.


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  • Yad Vashem Reflection

    As we walked through the great stone doors of Yad Vashem a great sense of familiarity swept over us. It has been 4 weeks since we journeyed through the horrors of the holocaust in Europe yet the wounds of our ancestors of which we learned still seemed fresh. Each document of deportation, each death certificate; every bit of evidence of the atrocities creates another void of anguish within us.


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  • It’s Not Goodbye, It’s L’hitraot (see you later)

    Now that the NFTY in Israel journey is about to end, another journey is beginning. Your teen's will soon disembark from the airplane very tired, but nevertheless very fulfilled. It is without a doubt the NFTY in Israel summer is a challenging summer and ultimately it is a summer of growing up. These young people who were so far away from their homes needed to work together in a group experience that was often demanding and frequently called upon them to harness their inner resources.


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