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YOUNG JUDAEA IS ALL ABOUT
New Independence for Young Judaea
Young Judaea, the Zionist youth movement, is now an independent organization. Hadassah, which has been Young Judaea's sole sponsor since 1967and supported the movement for more than 25 years before that, will provide transition funding for three years. Read the Press Release >>
Independence Day for Young
Hadassah empowers Zionist youth movement, forges ongoing partnership
-- Young Judaea took hold of its own future today as its longstanding sponsor, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, set it on a celebrated road to independence, the organizations announced jointly. NEW YORK
Last June, the national board of Hadassah voted to turn the 103-year-old Zionist youth movement into an independent, not-for-profit entity so that it could more fully fashion its own destiny in a changing youth landscape. Long regarded for its leadership training, pluralist ideology, and activism, Young Judaea serves 5,000 Jewish children, teens, and young adults annually through
U.S. camps and programs. Israel
Hadassah National President Marcie Natan said it took a year to complete the historic separation, and although the timing is notable, it was not planned to coincide with the Fourth of July.
“The fact that this is Independence Week in the
has not been lost on us and is certainly appropriate in the evolution of Young Judaea,” she said. “Like a child leaving the nest, Young Judaea will always be part of the Hadassah family. Hadassah members take tremendous pride in how effective Young Judaea is in creating permanent connections between American youth and United States .” Israel
Young Judaea Board President David Bechhofer said generations of movement graduates offer tremendous appreciation to Hadassah for the opportunities it has given --and will continue to give -- American Jewish youth.
“Through Hadassah’s passion and guidance, Young Judaea taught each of us that together, we can change the world,” said Bechhofer, an alumnus of Young Judaea's Year Course in
, the preeminent freshman gap-year program that was also attended by his daughter. “We are not only taking over Young Judaea, we are taking responsibility for it and for the future leadership of the Jewish people as we move forward together.” Israel
The new entity will be run by a professional staff under Inaugural Executive Director Simon Klarfeld, who was hired in December to set up operations and envision the next century of youth engagement with
. A board of directors is in formation and will be announced in the coming weeks. A smaller Founding Board has been overseeing the changeover. As part of the plan: Israel
· Young Judaea will undergo a staff restructuring to enable it to operate as a national organization in its own right.
· Hadassah, which has been Young Judaea’s sole sponsor since 1967 and supported the movement for more than 25 years before that, will provide transition funding for three years. During that time, Young Judaea will reach out to its vast network of alumni as well as foundations and other major donors to secure funding for growth initiatives, scholarships and grants, and capital improvements and expansion at Tel Yehudah, its national teen leadership camp in New York, as well as Camp Judaea in North Carolina, Camp Young Judaea Midwest in Wisconsin, Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake in New York, andCamp Young Judaea Texas.
Klarfeld said current camp and
program participants can expect a seamless transition. Israel
· Hadassah units will continue to raise scholarship funding to make Young Judaea’s summer and year-round programs increasingly available to all Jewish children.
· Young Judaea is creating a new national database of alumni, friends, and family. Bechhofer encouraged all Young Judaeans worldwide to step up and join the conversation.
· Young Judaea will remain based at Hadassah’s
headquarters for several months as it finalizes arrangements for new office space. New York
· The organizations, whose missions are closely linked, plan to stay connected through Hadassah participation on boards and committees of Young Judaea, educational programming, scholarship fundraising, and other initiatives.
“We share the same mission regarding
activism and education,” Natan said. “Hadassah is excited about continuing its more than 70 years of support of Jewish youth leadership through Young Judaea.” Israel
Justin Jacobs, Section 3 madrich
Right now, twelve chanichim are in the middle of week two of hiking Shvil Yisrael, Israel’s national trail, with madricha Shawna Dolinka. I spent the first week (and will rejoin next week) hiking and leading the chanichim through experiences on the trail that none of us will ever forget.
The first morning was the hardest. Waking up at 5 AM, as the frigid, dry desert air made every layer of clothing seem like not enough, twelve Section 3 chanichim slowly crawled out of their tents into the still-dark morning. We’d already been through a full day of hiking, but that first morning after our first night was tough. By 6:30, we’d eaten our pre-breakfast, packed the tents and all of our clothing, split up that day’s breakfast and lunch food and set out to the trail. We hiked for almost 10 hours that day through the Negev, walking through Makhtesh Ramon (a huge crater-like dent in the earth unique to Israel).
Some Section 3 chanichim volunteered in Arad this semester and some joined Marva, but only the 12 who spent the semester on Kibbutz Ketura are having an experience quite like this. Shvil Yisrael is an extensive network of trails that extend all over Israel. In the last three weeks of first semester, these 12 chanichim will hike three gorgeous sections of it, all ending with a trek down the Eilat Mountains to the Red Sea.
And our first week couldn’t have been more incredible.
It didn’t quite hit everyone until that first morning, when we awoke unbelievably cold a few kilometers away from Ramon’s Tooth, the highest peak in the makhtesh which we’d climbed the day before. Adjusting to life on the trail took some time. Our daily schedule: waking up before dawn each morning, hiking 90 minutes before eating a real breakfast, expecting to see no less than two breathtaking views a day, making it to camp and starting to prepare dinner by 4, eating by 7, and falling asleep by 9.
Three meals a day? Nah-climbing mountains all day, we needed four. And though the hike was filled with incredible moments, it was often those breakfasts and lunches on the trail that were the most fun. All 12 chanichim, our trail guide Yoash, medic Aviram and myself worked together to prepare each meal, cutting vegetables, making tachina and tuna (in a bag, for lack of plates), clearing an area to sit and, eventually, eating together.
By now, midway through their second week, the chanichim are used to days on the trail. That transformation is complete. But after week three comes the hard part — saying goodbye to the trail for now, and hello to Jerusalem.
Take a look at some great pictures here from the week.
Young Judaea is the
“Young Heart” of Hadassah
This “Young Heart” is kept beating by Young Judaea Clubs,
Young Judaea Camps, Young Judaea Summer Course in
Israel, and Young Judaea Year Course in Israel.
To get the "dirt" on Year Course from Keith Berman, Director of Young Judaea Year Course in Israel, click on the link below:
Young Judaea Year Course
HADASSAH ANNOUNCES NEW VISION FOR
June 16, 2011
NEW YORK– Young Judaea, the world’s premiere Zionist youth movement, will launch as an independent organization under a bold initiative announced today by Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, which has supported the program for more than 70 years.
A group of former Young Judaea leaders, avid Young Judaea supporters, and Hadassah leaders has been asked to serve on the founding board of the newly independent organization. Hadassah will continue to provide financial support, have board representation, and work collaboratively with the 102-year-old movement, said Hadassah National President NancyFalchuk.
The founding board, which will create a nominating committee to help structure a board of directors to oversee the new organization, is comprised of the following members: Don Ashkenase of Great Neck, N.Y., Special Advisor to the President at Montefiore Medical Center; David Bechhofer of Newton, Mass., Partner at Bain & Company, Inc., a strategic consulting firm; Michael Berman of Minnetonka, Minn., President of Berman Medical, a medical devices start-up firm; Steve Berman of Atlanta, Ga., President of OA Development, a commercial real estate development firm; Betsy August Gold, of Hillsdale, N.J., a former journalist who now runs a small business; Mike Lasday of North Potomac, Md., former Co-CEO of EnvisionEMI experiential education company; Hadassah National Vice President Roni Schwartz of Brooklyn, N.Y., a speech pathologist who is the incoming National Young Judaea Coordinator for Hadassah; Michael Sherman of New York, N.Y., attorney and Senior Advisor for Peter J. Solomon Co., an investment banking firm; and incoming Hadassah National Vice President Shelley Sherman of Great Neck, N.Y., a former public service attorney who serves as the current National Young Judaea Coordinator for Hadassah.
Most of the nine have been very active in Young Judaea and Hadassah in recent years, holding lay leadership positions on camp boards as well as task forces, commissions and committees of the organizations.
“The alumni of Young Judaea are proud that Hadassah’s national board voted this week to help the movement become independent,” Michael Berman said. “With the leadership and support of Hadassah, Young Judaea will have the tools it needs to grow and strengthen. Young Judaea will continue to be the go-to group for unparalleled Jewish youth leadership development and Israel engagement.”
Nancy Falchuk echoed Berman on the continued close connection between Young Judaea and Hadassah, which became the sole sponsor of the youth movement in1967.
“For some time, many of us have felt that Young Judaea should stand as an independent entity, giving it the power to reach its full potential,” she said. “We are so proud and excited that such outstanding alumni and family of the movement have taken the lead on this transition. Who better to take Young Judaea into the future?”
Michael Berman said the immediate goals of the revitalized pluralistic youth movement include:
• Creating a cohesive summer camp network and broadening the scope of its Israel offerings, including Year Course in Israel, its preeminent college gap-year program;
• Providing new energy for Young Judaea as a vibrant brand with relevant peer-led opportunities for connecting American youth to Israel and the Jewish people; and
• Reaching out to its vast alumni network and Jewish community leaders worldwide to participate in the re-envisioning process and serve on the new Young Judaea board.
“Our programs, including Year Course and summer camps, will continue as they always have, and the overall transition will be seamless,” Berman said. “We are excited about the prospects of working with Hadassah to further strengthen what Young Judaea is and all that it has to offer.”
Alan Hoffmann, Director General of the Jewish Agency for Israel, said Jewish community leaders are excited about a reinvigorated youth leadership movement. “Creating a vibrant, independent Young Judaea will strengthen the bonds between Israel and the next generation of leaders in the American Jewish community,” he said.
Guiding Young Judaea toward independence has been a Hadassah goal. “This is what the broader Jewish community has been looking to us to do,” Falchuk said. “Young Judaea is the gold standard for Jewish youth movements, and as Hadassah increases its focus on health care and other issues, nothing could make us prouder than to have the legacy of being a part of Young Judaea for so many years. To have a self-sustaining Young Judaea, and to have us continue to be a part of that, will be fabulous for both organizations.
“This is Hadassah’s gift to the Jewish Zionist community. Today, Hadassah enthusiastically proposes the next step for the next century: The re-launch of Young Judaea by the very leaders it trained to make a difference in the world.”
Falchuk said Hadassah is committed to remaining an important partner, providing transition funding, and continuing to raise scholarships to make Young Judaea’s five summer camps, year-round activities, and Israel programs increasingly available to all Jewish youth.
Young Judaea, the Zionist youth movement, challenges young people to become involved in social and educational activities that develop and sharpen their senses of Jewish and Zionist identity. Since 1936, Hadassah has worked to strengthen Young Judaea, a youth movement started in 1909. Through expansions of its national camping system, innovative year-round activities, and prestigious Israel programs, Hadassah strategically placed itself at the forefront of Zionist education and engagement for American Jewish youth.
In addition to Year Course, Young Judaea programs include Camp Tel Yehudah, Camp Judaea, Camp Young Judaea Midwest, Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake, Camp Young Judaea Texas, Alternative Winter Break, Israel Summer Programs,Taglit-Birthright Israel trips, Amirim and WUJS Israel.
For more information, please visit www.youngjudaea.org.
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