On Friday, September 25, student travelers now in 11th and 12th grade departed from the Mayerson JCC to spend Shabbat together at Camp Livingston. Thanks to the generosity of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, 86 high school students had the opportunity to travel to Israel this past summer on a minimum three-week, educational trip using Cincy Journeys grants.
Before they receive funding, all high school grant recipients agree to give back to the community by attending pre- and post-trip programming known as Israel HERE, designed to teach students about Cincinnati’s Jewish community and the community’s connections to Israel. This year, using a new format, Israel HERE held a single post-trip meeting, the Shabbaton.
Students from eight different congregations and 16 different high schools who went on 11 different Israel trips were in attendance. The students were split into three groups and discussions were facilitated by our community emissary from Israel (shlicha) Maia Morag, three Hebrew Union College interns, and the two just arrived friends from Israel (chaverim m’Israel).
The atmosphere at camp was enthusiastic. The kids had free time at the bonfire, and they played and ate together. The study sessions fostered some great discussions.
Afterwards the teens offered positive and useful feedback about the Shabbaton. They were grateful to meet other Jewish kids from Cincinnati, and happy to rethink and reframe their Israel trip. They also enjoyed the programs that allowed them to learn more about Cincinnati’s Jewish organizations and agencies, including both Hillels, the Jewish day schools, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, and Jewish Family Service.