Dror Israel’s experienced educators put their skills to work leading tours for American students on summer programs.
The Onward Israel program bring American college students to Israel for summer internship opportunities, while living in city apartments and experiencing Israel as temporary locals.
On the weekends, the program brings the students to different places in Israel for guided tours, to meet Israelis and see the country. We were fortunate enough to lead 4 of these weekends for these students.
On the seminars we introduced the participants to the Negev desert, the Galilee, and discussed Jewish identity. The students were from all over the states and live in several different cities around Israel so it was their first time meeting each other as well.
We also ran a tour of Haifa and the historic but disadvantaged Hadar neighborhood. We introduced them to the dilemmas of the neighborhood and the work that Dror Israel’s Educators’ Community in Haifa does there.
These tours were different from the typical tourist experiences in Israel because they brought the participants face-to-face with insider dilemmas and issues in Israeli society – such as schisms between different population groups, poverty, the disconnect between center and periphery, and more – and asked the students to question their role or responsibility as American Jews in addressing these issues.
One student reported, “I went to Israel before on a teen tour but mostly saw historic and religious sites. Now, living and working here, it's been eye-opening to see the real lives and problems in Israel – both the good and the bad. It really made me feel like I belong and that this place, its people and its problems are mine too.”
We had a meaningful time connecting to different American communities and making new connections. See you next summer!