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What are You Grateful For?

Vivien Braly recently traveled to Israel on the Spring 2015 Parents’ Pilgrimage with her husband, daughter, and father, visiting her son Jonah. She shares some reflections from her visit. A bumper sticker I often see around my Northern California town says “What Are You Grateful For?” It’s a reference to the Grateful Dead (meh…a band I’ve never fully appreciated) but the sentiment I love. Being grateful. I always flash to my children’s faces when I see it. It is the face of our eldest son, Jonah, who I’ve been missing lately. He left for the Spring 2015 NFTY-EIE High School in […]

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EIE Parents’ Trip and an Exploration into Judaism Towards the Middle Ages

EIE Parents’ Trip and an Exploration into Judaism Towards the Middle Ages

Baruch Kraus is the Principal of the NFTY-EIE High School in Israel. In these weekly postings, he gives a description and rundown of what the group is doing day to day, which he hopes sheds some light on what the EIE experience is like. A lot has happened at EIE since I wrote last. It was a wonderful 10 days hosting the parents, grandparents, siblings and friends that came on the Parents’ Pilgrimage that ended last Thursday. Parents who came took care of and treated all the other students to meals and traveling off campus. In our ongoing study of […]

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Proud But Concerned: A Reform Jewish Student Reflects on Israel’s Elections

Proud But Concerned: A Reform Jewish Student Reflects on Israel’s Elections

Liora L. is from Evanston, IL. She is a member of Beth Emet The Free Synagoue, attends OSRUI, and is active in NFTY-CAR. One of the reasons I wanted to come to Israel this semester was to witness Israel’s elections. They were exciting, and I am thrilled that I had the chance to experience them firsthand. Over the past couple of months I have seen countless advertisements, on YouTube and on billboards across the country. I also witnessed a surprising amount of campaigning, including at the Jerusalem Marathon, where people from many political parties walked around handing out stickers, balloons […]

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Spring 2015 Parents’ Pilgrimage Update

Elisa Harrington-Verb and Marcus Harrington are currently in Israel visiting their son, Sawyer on NFTY-EIE. Here are their reflections from the first half of the Parents’ Pilgrimage. We approached the Parents’ Pilgrimage as a combination visit with our son, Sawyer, vacation, and pilgrimage to our holy land. Now that we are here, our first and overwhelming feeling is that the Parents’ Pilgrimage, like EIE, is a learning experience, and we couldn’t be happier or prouder. Our very first learning experience was a tiyul to a local mosque. We watched as 73 American teens donned modest dress, listened intently to the […]

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The Spring 2015 Parents’ Pilgrimage Has Begun

Baruch Kraus is the Principal of the NFTY-EIE High School in Israel. I am delighted to share that 82 parents, siblings, and extended family members arrived in Israel on Tuesday for the Spring 2015 Parents’ Pilgrimage. This is always a highlight of our Fall and Spring semesters and will be a special ten days for parents and students. Over ten days, parents will experience first-hand the EIE program. They will stay at Kibbutz Tzuba and enjoy the best of kibbutz living, meet their kids’ teachers, and sit in on their classes. They will travel on tiyulim to Tzfat and Jerusalem […]

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Purim and a Weekend of Festivities

Purim and a Weekend of Festivities

Baruch Kraus is the Principal of the NFTY-EIE High School in Israel. In these weekly postings, he gives a description and rundown of what the group is doing day to day, which he hopes sheds some light on what the EIE experience is like. Our students are well and happy, especially after celebrating Purim for three days! Purim started Wednesday evening with a special and creative Meggilah reading led by the students. Everyone was divided into groups based on chapters in the Meggilah to act out the story in full costume. Following was a Purim bash — a party with […]

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Gadna: Too Easy?

Simon M. is from Aurora, Illinois. He is a member of Congregation Etz Chaim, is a camper at OSRUI, and participates in NFTY-CAR. Last week, our group spent four days on a program called Gadna. (It should have been five days but it snowed…..go figure.) Gadna is an army orientation program led by soldiers. We spent our time there being treated as if we were actual soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Everything was the same as the Army: the clothes, food, hikes, and guns. I left with one complaint: it was too easy. We arrived at the army base Monday morning, greeted by […]

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Lauren Cohen2

An Appreciation for the Israeli Army

Lauren C. is from Oak Park, California. She is a member of Congregation Or Ami, attends Camp Newman, and participates in NFTY SoCal. After hearing so many mixed responses about Gadna from my friends who previously went on EIE, I wasn’t really sure what to think or what to feel prior to our Gadna week. Due to the flood in the desert, our week was cut down a day. The bus ride to the base was incredibly anxiety filled for me- I tried to sleep on the long ride, but the thought of soldiers screaming at me for the next […]

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