Dear Friends and Family,
As some of you know, I applied this fall to spend next semester, the spring of my high school sophomore year, in Israel at URJ Heller High (it used to be called NFTY EIE). I had to write several essays, get recommendations from teachers, my guidance counselor, and Temple Beth Elohim, have a 1-hour interview with the Head of Admission, and fill out a lot of forms about my curriculum.
I just found out that my application was accepted! I am so excited!
I have committed to my parents that I will pay for 25% of the trip - from my savings, from my work at Needham music and TBE, and by asking for help through crowdfunding. And that’s where you all come in.
If you are around my parents’ age or older, you probably remember those green cans that your tzedakah money went into at Sunday School. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has been planting trees in Israel for more than 115 years! They have literally been greening the desert, planting millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.
JNF has a program called “Plant Your Way to Israel.” in which half of all the funds I raise will be put in a special account for my trip, and the other half will go towards JNF’s green initiatives in Israel. I’m raising funds to specifically support JNF’s forestry work – work that has helped Israel enter the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees. My goal is to raise $3,600 or more.
Ever since celebrating my bar mitzvah in Israel, I have been fascinated and blown away by the culture, diversity, and people of Israel (and the food of course). I am really looking forward to growing as a person, student, Jew, and especially learning more about what I believe in and what I am most passionate about. My friends who have done Heller High in the past have called it a “life changing, meaningful, and once-in-a-lifetime” experience.
The semester will be even more special because I’ll be able to spend some weekends with my brother Gabe who is in Cantorial School at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, about half an hour away from Kibbutz Tzuba where I will be living and studying. I will even be spending Passover with Gabe and his classmates! I didn’t realize last spring that at the end of our seders when we say, “Next year in Jerusalem,” that it would actually be true for me.
Please help me reach my fundraising goal for my Plant Your Way to Israel experience. I do not need any Chanukah or birthday gifts - going on this trip truly means so much to me.
Thank you so much for your support. Be nice to my parents and Tony while I am away.
PS - Jewish National Fund is listed by the IRS as an independent 501 (c)(3) non-profit. All donations to my Plant Your Way to Israel fund are 100% tax-deductible… and if you give now, you can apply it to your 2018 tax year.
PPS - Last week, there was a conference call-in session for all Heller High spring applicants. Here are some Quick Facts I found really interesting:
- EIE started in 1961.
- There are more than 3,500 EIE/Heller HS alumni.
- There will be about 80-students on the program with me - about ⅔ girls and ⅓ boys.
- I will be continuing with ALL of my Needham courses. I will also be taking: Land, People, and Culture (for which I will actually get college credits) and Hebrew.
- There are 20 academic field trips. I will be participating in multiple unique adventures including: Sea-to-Sea, Gadna (IDF training), and a week-long trip to Poland.