Members of the Satell Teen Fellowship for Leadership and Social Activism touched down on the tarmac at Newark International Airport on the 4th of July, happy to celebrate the birthday of America, the land they call home, yet already wistful for the Jewish homeland they just left behind. This 10-day mission was the final adventure that these 19 teens would share during their yearlong program of leadership development and social action experiences.
The teens started their journey with breakfast at Neot Kedumim, Israel's famed biblical landscape reserve. There, these 21st century adolescents saw life as it was lived by their ancestors 3,000 years ago and shared these images with friends and families on their laptops and iPhones. In Tel Aviv and neighboring Jaffa, a falafel lunch and visits to Independence Hall and the Palmach Museum were highlights of action-packed days.
Yisrael Neeman, a lecturer at the University of Haifa Overseas Studies Department, updated the teens on the current political climate in Israel during their visit to a kibbutz guest house in Tiberias. Their exploration of Israel's northern communities included a jeep tour of the Golan Heights and a study session in Tzfat, a city most closely associated with the Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism.
In Haifa, Satell Fellows toured Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Yemin Orde, a global village that houses and educates more than 500 children and teens from 20 countries.
They took time out from their busy agendas for a camel ride and enjoyed dinner in a Bedouin tent and a chance to learn about Bedouin life and culture.
The teens ascended to Masada, the desert fortress overlooking the Dead Sea, which is one of Israel's most powerful symbols of Jewish survival, at sunrise. Before their energy levels flagged, they hiked the Ein Gedi nature preserve, a sanctuary for many types of plant, bird and animal species. Lunch and a swim at the Dead Sea Spa fortified them for the drive to Jerusalem where their exploration of Israel's key historic and spiritual sites went into high gear.
Inspired by their recitation of Shehecheyanu, the traditional prayer of thanks for new and unusual experiences, upon Mount Scopus, the group cried together at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, rejoiced in celebration of Kabbalat Shabbat at the Kotel, marveled at the excavations in the City of David, volunteered their time at a Hazon Yeshaya soup kitchen, shopped on Ben-Yehuda Street and thrilled to a performance of the famed sound and light show at the City of David.
See pictures and read about the highlights of the group's Israel adventure online athttp://www.satellteenfellowship.org/israelblog.html .
Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Satell Fellow?
Calling all inspired and motivated Jewish teens who want to make a difference in the community. Applications for the 2011-2012 Satell Teen Fellowship for Leadership and Social Activism are now being accepted.
The Fellowship helps prepare Jewish adolescents to become engaged citizens, developing the knowledge and skills they need to assume leadership roles and be of service to the community now and in the future. If you meet the criteria, you will:
· Engage in bi-monthly leadership programs to learn more about yourself and your community.
· Meet and discuss vital issues with political and civic leaders and prominent business professionals to better understand key issues and develop your voice.
· Participate in two powerful developmental trips to:
· Washington, D.C., to meet with government leaders and learn how American culture, government and policies connect with Jewish values.
· Israel, where Satell Teen Fellows explore the country, learn about current issues and meet Israeli teens who share their commitment to creating a more compassionate and caring world.
For more information about eligibility requirements and application deadlines, call Ross M. Levy, director, 215-635-7300, Ext. 178 or email: [email protected] .