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Young Judaea's Year Course Departs for Israel With Katrina Survivor

Emily North


(New York, NY -- September 04, 2005) -- Mia Goldwasser, of Metairie, LA, almost missed being part of a record number of Young Judaea Year Course participants leaving for Israel today. The group’s only teen from the New Orleans area was on vacation with her parents in New York when Hurricane Katrina hit – but her passport and overseas suitcase were still at home. Fortunately, Young Judaea staff quickly helped her obtain a new passport and collected clothing so that she could stay in the program that offers recent high school graduates the opportunity to spend a year in Israel studying, volunteering and traveling the land.

June Walker, National President of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, the parent organization of Young Judaea, said: “While there is such uncertainty about the condition of Mia’s own home, we hope she will feel at home immediately on the Young Judaea Year Course, and we know that she will make a positive contribution to the program and to the State of Israel.”

Goldwasser was one of 292 students from 33 states and several Canadian provinces departing for Israel on Year Course. Altogether 400 students are in this year’s course from North America, Great Britain and Israel. They represent a total Year Course enrollment that – at 100 students, or 33 percent, greater than last year’s roster – breaks all previous Young Judaea records.

Young Judaea's Year Course in Israel is a 9-month program for recent high school graduates who defer college acceptance to study, volunteer and engage in Israeli society. Participants earn up to one year’s worth of college credit through the University of Judaism College-in-Israel, while building leadership skills and developing and strengthening their relationship with the country’s land and people.

Among the most important activities is a segment in which participants do hands-on volunteer work with organizations like Magen David Adom, the Israeli rescue service, and the Israel Defense Forces.

Within the Year Course framework there is also a specialized track. Now in its seventh year, Shalem, under Orthodox supervision, is aimed at U.S. graduates of Orthodox high schools and yeshivot. Shalem, Hebrew for “whole,” and an acronym for Shnat Limud U’Ma’aseh, a Year of Study and Service, offers a religiously meaningful alternative to full-time yeshiva programs. There are a total of 52 participants this year.


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