Intermountain Jewish News

Dec 01st

IST, ISLI, Free Spirit — they all spell Teens in Israel

E-mail Print PDF

From left: IST participants Kira Altman, Shayna Goldstein, Arin Simon, Madi Esses and Ilana WurmanIsrael. One word. Enough said. That is, if you have been to Israel, and walked the path of Abraham, Moses and David Ben-Gurion.

For Jewish teens living in America today, “Israel is like this place that I’m told to have a deep connection with.” It’s hard to understand the deep history that is read about in the Torah.

But after landing in Israel and breathing the saltwater in Tel Aviv, feeling the cold touch of the Western Wall, and eating the warm, crunchy falafel, a forever connection to Israel is created. Israel is that friend who will always be there for you, no matter what you are going through.

Kyle Nowak, Denver Jewish Day School senior, was one of 100 students on BBYO’s International Leadership Seminar in Israel (ILSI). He enjoyed the Western Wall but found other attractions in Jerusalem had a greater impact on him.

“The Western Wall was an experience that was good for me but I wouldn’t say I had the same momentous experience as other teens,” says Nowak.

Rather, he found the Hezekiah water tunnel tour to be a great experience, in part because of the history.  “With the tunnels,  I had to crunch down to get through it. You know that [our ancestors] walked directly through this path at one point. This is the exact spot they stood,” Nowak says.

Jenni Greenwald, Cherry Creek graduate and now at Sarah Lawrence University, traveled to Israel as a participant on the Free Spirit Birthright trip with 40 people, mainly from the east coast. Among her favorite cities were Tiberias, Safed, and Jerusalem.

In contrast to Nowak, Greenwald found the Wall to be “inexplicable.”

“Jerusalem is just Jerusalem. It is such a spiritual city and it was breathtaking to be there. We got to go to the Western Wall on Friday night, which was probably the coolest experience in my life,” reveals Greenwald.

Away from the city, in the middle of the desert, is where Arin Simon, Smoky Hill senior and Israel Study Tour (IST) participant, felt like she was really in the Jewish homeland.

The rest of this article is available in the IJN's print edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or subscribe to our new online e-Edition.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 01 August 2013 09:20 )  

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Shabbat Times

JTA News

‘Fiddler on the Roof’ — and behind the scenes

Lisa Keys The cast and crew shared a Shabbat meal at Mendy’s — and five other surprising facts about the upcoming revival of the iconic Broadway musical. ... [Link]

Western Wall rabbi ordered to include women in Israel’s Hanukkah candle-lighting

Marcy Oster The directive came in response to a Women of the Wall campaign claiming that excluding women from the national ceremony at the Kotel is discriminatory. ... [Link]

Why Shelly Silver won’t be sharing a prison cell with Willie Rapfogel

Uriel Heilman Within the space of less than a week, Silver, the former New York Assembly speaker, was found guilty on seven counts of corruption charges, while his old pal Rapfogel, the disgraced Met Council chief,... [Link]

Radiohead singer Thom Yorke compares YouTube, Google to the Nazis

Gabe Friedman The singer said that YouTube and its parent company, Google, have “seized control” of art like the Nazis did during World War II. ... [Link]

Israelis were brutalized, castrated at Munich Olympics, widows reveal

Marcy Oster Two of the Olympians’ widows, in interviews with The New York Times, discussed the cruelty of the treatment. ... [Link]

Google denies deal to jointly monitor YouTube videos with Israel

Marcy Oster Israel claimed the agreement on videos that incite violence against Israelis was reached at a meeting of company executives with its deputy foreign minister; Google owns YouTube. ... [Link]

2 alleged Palestinian stabbers killed during attempted attacks

Marcy Oster In one West Bank attack, a bystander was injured, reportedly by a bullet fired at the assailant by security forces. ... [Link]

Far-right Israeli activists protest Jerusalem Christmas event

Jas Chana Members of the anti-coexistence group Lehava claimed the event was encouraging Jewish children to decorate Christmas trees. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942 • •