NEW YORK (Jun. 17)
Nearly 1, 500 young Americans will go to Israel this summer to spend from seven weeks to one year in travel, work and study programs sponsored by the Jewish Agency in cooperation with the American Zionist Council, the Jewish Agency announced here today.
These programs will have a record number of participants since the inception of the Jewish Agency summer programs 13 years ago and have one basic conception, Mrs Rose Halprin, chairman of the American section of the Jewish Agency, said. Young Americans will learn about Israel not only from sightseeing and occasional lectures, but also from active participation, alongside the Israelis in day to day experience, she stated.
The largest group this year will go within the framework of the Israel Summer Institute sponsored by the Youth Department of the Jewish Agency. The 750 participants, each of whom will spend about seven weeks in Israel, come from both Zionist and non-Zionist organizations. Participants in the Junior division (age 16-18) are members of National Young Judaea and the non-affiliated applicants of the American Zionist Youth Commission, as well as members of B’nai B’rith Youth, United Synagogue Youth (Conservative) and the National Federation of Temple Youth (Reform).
In the Senior division (age 18-25) the participants are members of Junior Hadassab, B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations, Mizrachi Hatzair and Student Zionist Organization, as well as a group of non-affiliated youth. The Summer Institute has been in operation since the establishment of the State and has registered a year to year increase in the number of participants. Since 1949, more than 5,000 youth went to Israel under this program.
Participants in the Seminar spend two weeks touring the country, about two weeks attending lectures by top Israeli personalities on general subjects, as well as in small special interest groups such as: art, music, medicine, social welfare, religion, etc. For many of the youth, the most rewarding experience is the third part of their visit–the work period in an agricultural settlement, a kibbutz or a moshav. The special “Summer in Kibbutz” program, lasting ten weeks, in which most of the visit is spent in actual work, with time out for sightseeing, cultural activities and lectures will have about 150 participants this year.
The Jewish Agency’s cultural Department conducts the annual “Bar Mitzvah” pilgrimages lasting 6-7 weeks. The “Bar Mitzvah” program this year will have about 100 youngsters.