February 8, 2007
Briefs: Hier scolds Carter, and vice versa; StandWithUs distributes “Israel 101”
(Page 2 - Previous Page)"We are from different parts/Our faiths are still in our hearts/Black, white, or brown/We are same way deep down/No matter what our feelings are/From each other we're not so far."
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-- Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Education Editor
Pluralistic Program Fills the 'Gap'
Jewish students have long used the year between high school and college -- known as the "gap year" -- to spend some time growing intellectually and spiritually in Israel.
A new program, SIACH, takes that experience out of its usual denominational specificity with a coed, pluralistic learning experience in Jerusalem that is open to students of different academic and religious backgrounds.
"We want to provide the essential tools to help students find their personal path to Jewish commitment, recognizing that there are many paths and many expressions of Jewish identity," said program director Rabbi David Harbater. "They are free to make their own connections and develop at their own pace without any preconceived notions."
In addition to the academic study -- much of which is accredited by the Baltimore Hebrew University -- SIACH will organize opportunities for students to volunteer with projects such as building and renovation, helping protect Israel's environment, visiting the elderly and disabled and tutoring English in neighborhood schools.
The program also aims to help students understand the pressing issues facing Israel, and to explore the relevance of modern and traditional Jewish texts through drama, the arts, dialogue with Israeli peers and field trips.
For information, visit www.siach.org or call (866) 572-7913.
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