Reach Across Illinois Campuses for Israel, a program of JUF's Israel Education Center, launched its inaugural Non-Jewish Student Leadership Trip to Israel on Dec.27.
RAIC will bring 10 student leaders from Illinois campuses to Israel as part of their outreach, education and advocacy programming aimed at non-Jews. During the 10-day trip, the student leaders from campuses without Hillels or a significant Jewish student body will have the opportunity of a lifetime.
"JUF's Israel Education Center is deeply invested in engaging those students--both Jewish and non-Jewish--who are the business, political, civic, and military leaders of tomorrow," said Emily Briskman, Israel Education Center Director. Our hope is that when they return to campus, these students will bring back lifelong memories and stories they will share with their peers. Our goal is to advance awareness and generate support for Israel now and in the future."
Working in conjunction with JUF's office in Israel, the itinerary will include meetings with leading Israeli scholars from major Israeli universities and think tanks, journalists from papers such as the The Jerusalem Post, and authors and government officials.
In addition to these high-level meetings, the group will walk the cobbled streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, experience the vibrancy of modern Tel Aviv, climb Masada and bathe in the Dead Sea. A walk through the beauty of the Golan Heights will also help to highlight security issues firsthand that they have been learning about together.
The students recruited for the trip are either serving as interns with the program or are active in other leadership positions on their campus. They are students at Augustana College, Aurora University, Benedictine University, North Park University, Western Illinois University, and Wheaton College. They are leaders of interfaith initiatives, ROTC Cadets, editors of university newspapers, and active in campus organizations. Their majors include: Biology, History, International Relations, Law Enforcement, Global Ethnography, Economics, Communications and Political Science.
They come from diverse backgrounds, studies and interests, but all have taken a vested interest in connecting with, learning more and advocating for Israel on their college campuses. This trip is sure to be a life-changing experience for these students, and each has expressed a commitment to bring back what they see and learn in Israel to their college campuses and beyond.