The first known program of its kind, The Journey for Identity was developed by the Rochester, NY- Modi'in, Israel partnership for a select group of 28 teens, 14 from each community. The Journey is a three-week transcontinental exploration of Jewish "routes" and "roots"; the group spends a week each in Rochester, Poland and Israel. The Journey began on July 18 with the arrival of the Modi’in teens in Rochester and wraps up in Israel on August 8. The group of 15-16 year olds is learning about Jewish life together, bonding with each other, and covering a vast geographical and historical territory. The Journey is chaired by Ricki Birnbaum in Rochester and Hilla Hadas in Modi'in.
The outlines of the program are as follows:
In Rochester: Six days of interactive learning about Jewish life in America, including a visit to Washington, DC to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, visits to area synagogues, as well as excursions to Watkins Glen, Niagra Falls, and much more. The Israeli children are paired with American counterparts and stay in their homes. Exercises and activities help them to get to know each other and to experience differences and similarities between Israeli and American teens.
In Poland: Seven days of visits to Jewish community centers, monuments, villages, and concentration camps in Poland, including discussions with Polish Holocaust survivors, rescuers and their descendants. In Poland, the group traces the history of Poland's Jewish community, visiting ghetto remains, cemeteries, and synagogues in Bialystok, Lublin and Krakow. They receive tours in Treblinka, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Auschwitz where they learn about the Holocaust where it happened. They visit museums and other institutions educating them about the history of European Jewry.
In Israel: Finally, the teens migrate to the site of ancient and modern miracles - the land of Israel. Eight days of visits to major sites throughout Israel and a deeper understanding of the significance of Israel as the Jewish homeland and the spiritual/cultural center of Judaism ensue. While in Modi'in, the Rochester teens stay in the homes of their new friends. They travel to a wide variety of sites throughout the country to learn about its rich history and the extraordinary achievements of the modern state. They tour the Ghetto Fighers Kibbutz, the Golan Heights, the Sea of Galilee, take camel rides in the Arad region, explore the Judean Desert, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea.
This is the first known inter-continental journey of its kind through Partnership 2000. For information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.