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The Trip of a Lifetime

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Now that the high holidays are almost over and the weather is starting to get colder, we are one step closer to planning summer 2018! Whether it’s camp, fun at home, or family vacations, there are so many options of fun things to do over the summer. This summer, try something new and sign up for Temple Jeremiah’s Teen Costa Rica Service Trip! The trip is for 8th-11th graders, and is open to non-Temple Jeremiah members as well. See what the Teen Trip Leader, Jordana, has to say about how excited she is to plan and participate in this crazy adventure to Costa Rica!

Summer Break Costa Rica

My name is Jordana Bornstein and I am a senior at Deerfield High School. My family has been member of Temple Jeremiah in Northfield for a long time, but it was only recently that I became more involved. This decision comes following my experiences with both the JUF’s Ta’am Yisrael trip, an 8th grade trip to Israel, and the Research Training Internship (RTI), a Jewish, feminist research internship for female-identifying people in the community. Both experiences had a profound effect on me, and have led to me to where I am today. 

One of the ways I am becoming more involved in Temple Jeremiah is by being the senior teen leader for this summer’s June 14-21 Teen Costa Rica service trip! I decided to do this because when I went on Ta’am in eighth grade, I realized how incredible it is when Jewish people unite as one and work together. I had a distinct realization of the importance of staying connected with my Jewish community. This mindset also led me to partake in RTI during my junior year of high school. The culmination of these experiences helped me to realize how I can be Jewish, and live as an engaged member of my Jewish community, in more ways than just by attending synagogue, religious school, or studying the history of Judaism. I am so excited to further this engagement in Costa Rica with 8th-11th graders, where together we will find more ways to be an active Jewish citizen in non-traditional ways.

Being Jewish is dynamic; there are plenty of ways to live as a Jew that are ever growing and changing. I realize now that Judaism can be part of all aspects of my life, and I can decide to what degree this is true. I can be engaged in Jewish studies academically, or enhance my spiritual and religious connection. But, I can also be Jewish by strengthening my understanding of other faiths, by studying political movements, or by engaging in art and literature. These are all ideas we are going to explore both before and in Costa Rica. As a community, we will come together to study Costa Rican culture, social justice, and other means of Jewish civic engagement. 

To me, the coolest and most unique part about this service trip is that we will be living in the community we are helping, and addressing their specific, urgent needs. The projects we complete will not just last a day, but they will last the entirety of the trip and we will be able to see our progress throughout the week. The same way that physically helping build a community center or harvesting crops will help the community, we will also be doing so by forging authentic relationships with the Costa Ricans living there. The chance to be fully engrossed in such an enriching and interesting culture and community is what I am most excited about.

By going on such a meaningful and fun trip, I will be simultaneously strengthening my relationship with Temple Jeremiah and the larger Chicago Jewish community. As someone who is getting ready to leave for college in a year, this is important to me. I want to remain intact with my Jewish heritage and community wherever I end up in the future. By strengthening these connections now, I am preparing myself for a future of Jewish learning and community. I hope that you consider attending this incredible trip with me!

For questions and information about the trip please contact Naomi Segal, Temple Jeremiah’s Youth and Family Engagement Director, at All 8th-11th graders, members of Temple Jeremiah or not, are eligible to participate. The deadline to apply is Friday, November 10th. Apply online at