North Shore Temple Emanuel
a Progressive Jewish Congregation
Youth 2 Israel (Y2i) is searching for school students, with at least one Jewish parent, to keep them informed about an opportunity to go to Israel on a program of five weeks or longer. Parents of students from Year 6 are being encouraged to enrol. Y2i will provide $5,000 vouchers in Year 10 to make these programs affordable.
Since 2014 when Y2i began providing vouchers, the numbers of participants has grown by 75% and this year there will be well over 300 students going. Students who attend any school are eligible. There are specific programs in Jewish day schools, and there is one for students attending any other school.
Board Chair of Y2i, Jeremy Dunkel says, “We are encouraging families to enrol their kids from an early age, so we can help distribute information about upcoming programs. Registering comes with no obligations.”
One of the biggest challenges Y2i faces is locating students.
“It’s now estimated that more than 50% of students with a Jewish parent are not enrolled in Jewish day schools. With religious classes not compulsory in government schools, there is no simple way of reaching all these students,” says Jeremy.
The program, run by BJE for these students has a multi-stream approach, meaning participants can make choices about the kind of religious experience they want. The focus is on understanding through experience, the culture and heritage of Israel.
From its establishment, Y2i has been widely supported across the community, because all the research shows these Israel based experiential programs have a significant positive impact on Jewish continuity. There is lots of information and videos on the Y2i website, not just about the programs themselves, but on the impact they have made on those who have participated.
“We need the support of parents and grandparents reading this, to reach out to other Jewish parents and encourage them to register. We want to make all students aware of this life changing opportunity,” adds Jeremy.