1,200 College Youth to Study, Work in Israel; 75 on Bar Mitzvah Pilgrimage
Menu JTA Search

1,200 College Youth to Study, Work in Israel; 75 on Bar Mitzvah Pilgrimage

Download PDF for this date

More than 1, 200 American Jewish students and teachers will participate this summer in a series of study-work projects and touring seminars in Israel. Seventy-five teen-agers in the program departed last night on a chartered E1 A1 flight. They will celebrate their religious coming of age during a seven-week “Bar Mitzvah Pilgrimage” to Israel.

The programs, the largest since the inception of the activity 13 years ago, are being sponsored by the Jewish Agency and the various departments of the American Zionist Council. The largest contingent consists of 660 high school and college students from all parts of the United States, who are going for a period of seven weeks under the Israel Summer Institute program.

This is the 13th season for this project conducted in cooperation with national Zionist and non-Zionist youth groups. They include Young Judea, Mizrachi Hatzair, Junior Hadassah, the Student Zionist Organization, B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, United Synagogue Youth, National Federation of Temple Youth, Hillel, Foundation and other groups. The program includes visits to all parts of Israel, lectures and discussions and a ten-day work period in a kibbutz or a new immigrant settlement.

A total of 120 participants will take part in two other summer work programs for college students. Seventy are enrolled in the “Summer-in-Kibbutz” program, a 10-week work program developed in cooperation with the Kibbutz Federations in Israel.

The other work program was set up for students in professional schools in cooperation with PATWA, the Office of Professional and Technical Workers Aliyah, which has placed 50 medical students, mechanical and chemical engineers, teachers and social workers in hospitals, private industry and public authorities for a summer training period in their future professions. This program is now in its seventh year.


Other groups of college-age people are leaving for periods of six months to a year for intensive work-study programs. There are 260 youths participating in programs with special emphasis on training for future leadership of American Jewish youth organizations. Both Zionist and non-Zionist youth groups are sponsoring candidates for this program, which includes study of Hebrew, Jewish history and educational techniques plus work in a settlement.

Additional 300 teachers, social workers and professors of Hebrew and Bible will attend various seminars organized by the Department of Education and Culture of the American Zionist Council. These projects are designed to strengthen cultural and educational ties between Israeli and American Jewries, and to help lift Jewish education standards in the United States.

The Agency’s Torah Education and Culture Department also is sending 25 rabbis and educators to Israel for an intensive seminar, which will include visits to historical sites and talks with leading Israeli Torah authorities and educators.

The 57 boys and 18 girls on the Bar Mitzvah Pilgrimage comprise the largest single group of American young people ever to tour Israel, according to the American Zionist Council. Each paid $700 to cover the cost of the tour.

In a briefing session prior to their departure, Dr. Emanuel Neumann of the Jewish Agency, and Rabbi Irving Miller, chairman of the American Zionist Council, discussed some high-lights of the tour, including the Bar Mitzvah ceremony to be conducted for them in Jerusalem on August 12 by Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim. The young tourists will be received by President Ben-Zvi and other Government and Jewish Agency leaders. They will return to the United States August 29.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund