Most of my Israeli compatriots were secular; they didn’t join in when I sang Havdalah or niggunim I loved from camp.
By her junior year of high school, Bella Saunders already knew that she wanted to take time off before college and apply her “skills, passions and Judaism” to a non-academic setting. But when the coronavirus pandemic disrupted her senior year at Atholton High School in Columbia, Md., the 17-year-old Saunders became even more certain of her decision to participate in Tivnu: Building Justice, a social justice-themed Jewish gap year program in Portland, Ore.
The students, especially LGBT+ individuals, feel like they have no one to turn to in Israel
I may not be attending university, but I am learning more about myself and developing as a person — not just as a student.
A new social justice program teaches teens construction skills and Jewish texts. It’s designed for those who want to take time off before college, without journeying to Israel.
My daughter was the first person to tell me that an agreement had been reached for Gilad Shalit’s release. Her voice was joyous in a “shouting-from-the-rooftop” kind of way. Shalit’s captivity has been very much on my teenage daughter’s mind since she saw the halting video of Gilad as a prisoner of war two years ago. After her first viewing, she marched into our bedroom with her laptop and said, “You need to watch this.”