By Lori Sagrin, RJE, Chalutzim Segel (Faculty)
When parents ask me what they can do to ensure their children’s Jewish identity, I respond with the following:
- Send your kids to a good religious school and engage yourselves in the community
- Send your kids to Jewish summer camp
- Send your kids to Israel
I know it is a lot of “sending” but, it is incumbent upon us as parents to send our kids off to find their way. All of these elements above are important and part of the package that help to build that tool kit of experiences that link children to their Jewish identities and communities. Next summer OSRUI is offering, for the first time, Chalutzim Ba’Aretz (Chalutzim in Israel). This 4-week summer experience will provide an incredible opportunity for your child to be in Israel with their OSRUI peers and have the opportunity of a lifetime to celebrate their Hebrew learning from this summer in Chalutzim, and to build on it in a way that will strengthen their overall grasp of the language.
OSRUI is partnering with NFTY, the North American Federation of Temple Youth, to craft an Israel trip exclusively designed for OSRUI campers.While it will contain all of the elements of a wonderful NFTY experience, this trip will have some added value of Hebrew learning and, what I feel is the most critical, a mifgash (literally, a meeting), an opportunity to travel and experience home hospitality with Israeli peers. I am a strong believer in the relational approach of Israel’s education and this trip is built on that foundation. What this means is that it will be easier to connect to Israel through a personal connection with Israelis, one that has an academic pursuit as well. The friendships they will make will be meaningful and lifelong, thus ensuring that connections to Israel will last forever.
There is nothing I can tell you to do that will in fact guarantee your child’s Jewish identity and desire to have an ongoing connection with their community, but I strongly believe, and have in fact seen evidence, that the factors listed above do a pretty good job. I hope that you will consider sending your kids on Chalutzim Ba’Aretz either next summer or the summer after your child completes Chalutzim!
Have questions? Visit https://nftyisrael.org/osrui/ for more details. More information will be available in the coming month!
Lori Sagrin, RJE, serves as the Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Beth Israel in Skokie, IL.