High School Leadership Trip: JSU Footprints in Israel

by Bert Maxwell /
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Oct 05, 2009 / 0 comments

JSU Footprints in Israel
Ten elite participants in Jewish Student Union (JSU) clubs in Los Angeles-area high schools will receive a hands-on experience exploring the land of Israel and learning more about their Jewish roots.  They will participate in "Footprints in Israel," a 10-day leadership trip during their winter break made possible through a gift from Ezra and Lauren Kest of Los Angeles.

The cost for the students is only $500.  Applications are now being accepted for the trip, which will run from December 22, 2009-January 3, 2010. "The participants will be chosen by the JSU selection committee based on a series of personal accomplishments and merit," declared Rabbi Effie Goldberg, Executive Director of West Coast JSU, which administers JSU programs throughout Los Angeles.

The Jewish Student Union operates clubs in 19 public high schools in and around Los Angeles; these clubs are often the students' only link to their Jewish heritage.  "Pro-Israel organizations speak in our JSU clubs every year and encourage our students to become advocates for Israel," Rabbi Goldberg said. "This trip will make it possible for our student leaders to have the experiences that will make this advocacy possible, by strengthening their cultural and religious identities to the Jewish people, bringing the traditions and stories of our rich heritage to life, as well as creating an everlasting connection to the land of our ancestors."  

“Applications are due on November 6 and the announcement of who is accepted will be made on Sunday, November 8th with a live feed online,”
Rabbi Goldberg said.  He praised Dr. and Mrs. Kest for their gift.  "This is a family that has a love and passion for Israel," Rabbi Goldberg said. He will lead the trip and be joined by Derek Gormin, JSU Director of Education and Solly Hess, JSU City Director.

"Our visit will be about action," Rabbi Goldberg said. "Showing the students Israel; traveling from Safed to Jerusalem and exploring different communities; visiting various yeshivot and experiencing the different culture, will all be highlights.  It is important to teach the student leaders to counteract the anti-Israel agendas that they will inevitably encounter in college.  With our efforts, they will now be situated and prepared as strong leaders to give back to their community and to influence those who need help in confronting hostility towards Israel."

Applicants must fulfill the following requirements:

a)    Engage in "learning hours" about a Jewish topic with an approved advisor
b)    Raise tzedakah (charity) for JSU
c)    Become an ambassador for JSU by earning points as follows
a.    Bring a friend to Latte & Learning and Dinner & Learning for one point
b.    Bring a friend to a JSU club or event for three points
c.    Write an essay about Israel's significance to you and why you wish to go there.
d.    Volunteer around community, synagogue, JSU office, etc.


Potential applicants should contact Derek[at]jsu.org with the subject "JSU Winter Israel."


All information contained herein provided by JSU Winter Israel