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Young Judaea Volunteers In New Orleans During Winter Break

As New Orleans continues to recover from Hurricane Katrina and the BP Deep Horizon Oil Spill, more than 50 Jewish high school students from across the United States will spend their winter vacation lending a hand toward rebuilding projects.

During Alternative Winter Break, a weeklong program offered by Young Judaea, the Zionist Youth Movement of Hadassah, students will participate in community service activities through which they’ll develop a stronger understanding of poverty and environmental sustainability issues affecting the Gulf Coast region today. The program is designed to challenge students by taking them out of the comfort of their everyday surroundings and immersing them in an unfamiliar, often life-changing environment.

WHAT: Young Judaea’s Alternative Winter Break
WHERE: New Orleans, La.
WHEN: December 23-30, 2010
WHY: To set an example and encourage activism in more teenagers

“This year, an amazing group of students has opted to forgo relaxation and vacation to participate in hands-on service projects in New Orleans, an experience they’ll remember for the rest of their lives,” said Andrew Fretwell, Young Judaea’s Manager of Youth Leadership and Education. “By spending a week living and working in communities where their efforts can be truly beneficial, these students will learn first-hand about the issues affecting those who live in recovering areas. The educational element of Alternative Winter Break ensures that participants develop a sense of building community, get the chance to further explore their Jewish identity and ultimately go home with a deeper commitment to service.”

Alternative Winter Break’s community service opportunities will focus on urban revitalization, environmental awareness and restoration and animal rescue. Participants will work directly with local organizations including Green Light New Orleans and All Souls Episcopal Church. Students will earn a minimum of 30 community service hours through the program.

Founded in 1912, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is the largest women’s, largest Zionist, and largest Jewish membership organization in the United States. Hadassah promotes health education, social action and advocacy, volunteerism, and Jewish education and research, and fosters youth connections to Israel through its Young Judaea program. For more information on Hadassah, its projects and how to become a member or donate, please visit www.hadassah.org. For more information on Young Judaea’s Alternative Winter Break, co-sponsored by Camp Tel Yehudah, please visit www.youngjudaea.org/awb.

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