Ahhh… summer in Israel. Intensely hot days, balmy summer nights, each city buzzing with its own unique energy. In addition to the stunning landscapes, there are plenty of festivals, markets, and summer events for teens to enjoy. What if we told you that you could send your teen to experience all of this and learn a thing or two?
Here are 5 reasons why you’re going to want to send your kid to Israel this summer:
1. To build genuine friendships with other Jewish teens
You might argue that your children have plenty of healthy, genuine friendships at school, however, outside of school, kids tend to bond with others on a more voluntary basis, over shared interests or hobbies. RootOne is giving North American Jewish teens the opportunity not only to meet each other in Israel, but to also make an Israeli friend before summer even begins! Their partnership with the Israeli organization ENTER Peoplehood matches American and Israeli teens in one-on-one online conversations over the course of five weeks before the summer begins, as part of the One2One program. American teens forge personal connections and friendships with their Israeli counterparts, and gain a better understanding of what it means to be a teenager in Israel today. Once in Israel, RootOne affiliated trips integrate Israeli teens into their daily activities as full participants, a new take on the traditional “mifgash.” How cool is that?
2. To learn not only about Israel, but about themselves
Teens are full of questions about the world around them and, thanks to the Internet and social media, they have a myriad of information and answers at their fingertips. That means that, through all of this, their Jewish identity and relationship with Israel is forming in real time. RootOne is about more than just getting Jewish teens to Israel. It is about creating a lifelong connection to Jewish life and to Israel by way of a transformative set of Israel experiences, all of which starts before they even take flight. From the moment they register with one of 40 RootOne-affiliated trip provider partners, teens embark on a content-rich, completely interactive educational journey. The pre-trip learning element is key, as it provides nuance and content and helps bring their Israel experience to life. In exchange for completing 18 nekudot, or credits, via the Early Experience learning portal, participants then get a $3,000 Voucher to offset the cost of the trip, making the trip of a lifetime that much sweeter!
3. To forge a stronger connection to the land, state, and people of Israel
RootOne affiliated trip itineraries are crafted with 18 specific outcomes in mind. These outcomes focus on maximizing the lifelong impact of the teens’ trips to Israel and include crucial developmental milestones, such as gaining the confidence to engage in informed conversations about Israel with their peers upon returning, better understanding the significance of the State of Israel in Jewish history, better understanding the multiplicity of voices and perspectives, needs, and desires of all the peoples living in Israel, and feeling a greater sense of pride in being Jewish. Not only that, but teens returning home from RootOne affiliated trips have opportunities for continued engagement in Israel and in Jewish life, offered by their trip providers on local and regional levels and further complemented by RootOne on a national level.
4. To develop a sense of independence and responsibility
By nature, travel presents situations where critical thinking is required. Flights get delayed, things get lost, cell phones die. When traveling around with family and friends, it’s easy for teens to follow their lead and let others take care of things. But traveling in a group without the familiarity of people from home means that you need to take more responsibility for your own actions, as well as look out for those who are with you. This means that you need to show up prepared, make the effort to participate, and be accountable throughout the trip. Overall, these new experiences and new skills open the door to continuing to try new things, which leads to becoming more well-rounded individuals who are open to embracing challenges. A win-win!
5. It’s Israel!
Tel Aviv, The Dead Sea, Masada, The Western Wall, Yad Vashem, Tzfat, shvakim, creamy hummus, savory falafel… did you really need 5 more reasons to send your teen to Israel this summer? What are you waiting for? Yalla!