Real Stories - Changed Lives

IEC Real Stories - Changed Lives

Personal stories of lives impacted by the opportunities offered through JUF's Israel Education Center.

Real Stories - Changed Lives

A good year

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a good year

At a time that is plagued by uncertainty in this country, in the Middle East and throughout the world, the Israel Education Center (IEC) is not shrinking back, but instead is increasing our efforts to educate Jews and non-Jews alike by presenting Israel's positive message and building long-lasting support for her future.

If you scroll down and read the passages throughout this blog, you will get glimpses of how the IEC's work has impacted individuals in  life-changing ways. The investment that JUF and our generous supplemental donors have been making for years in summer campers, high school students, faculty and college students and thousands of the next generation of Jewish and non-Jewish leadership in this country, is not just changing the future of individualsit is changing the future of this country.

We enter this year with great expectations not only of ourselves to initiate change in how individuals are educated about Israel, but with the expectation that the thousands of individuals we reach are then inspired and equipped to initiate a movement of change that will resonate nationwide.

The IEC is dedicated on multiple fronts to furthering our efforts to educate individuals about Israel this year. Over the past year we have seen an increased interest and initiative by more people to get involved in all seven of the programs we offer and this year we're taking that initiative and expanding upon it.

This year the IEC will be working with Israel Fellows who will lead, inspire, and connect students to Israel in a real way, by cultivating leadership and developing creative programming about Israel on multiple campuses in Illinois. Our Jewish and non-Jewish Israel Interns involved with the Israel Initiative and Reach Across Illinois Campuses for Israel, are building coalitions with multiple academic departments, centers, faculty, and student groups by initiating hundreds of educational, cultural, and positive programs about Israel that will reach thousands of students on 26 campuses throughout the state. And Hillels across Illinois are gearing up for a full-fledged recruiting campaign over the next several weeks for Birthright this upcoming winter. 

More than 50 top high school student leaders will be immersed in Write On for Israel, an intensive two-year Israel education and advocacy program that will develop their leadership skills and equip them to advocate for Israel in high school, college and beyond. Hundreds of Catholic high school students and educators will learn about Israel through Modern Israel: Holy Land and Jewish State, a partnership with the Archdiocese of Chicago. Hundreds of summer camp participants have experienced an immersive learning experience about Israel over the summer which has prepared them to go back to school with a founding base of knowledge about Israel for their future.

As you can see we have much to expect and look forward to. The Israel Education Center has spent the last several years integrating our programs in a way that engages young individuals, keeps them connected, inspired, and develops their leadership skills and initiative all the way from summer camp through college and beyond into positions in this country where they will make a difference.

And that is a necessity moving forward. There are great challenges ahead: Iran continues to escalate its genocidal rhetoric  towards Israel while forging ahead with its nuclear weapons program, for one. While we cannot predict what the future holds for America, Israel, the Middle East, and the world. what is certain is our resolve to increase our education and advocacy efforts, and provide a hopeful message that resonates powerfully in the lives of those we reach.

This year we can be confident that we are going to be instrumental in impacting thousands of lives with the positive message of Israel, so that in every situation that lies ahead, this generation of Americans and the next will stand strongly with Israel. This is what we expect from ourselves, what we expect of our efforts, of those we work with, and of the future. We are confident that this new year will truly be a good year.

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