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May 20, 1988 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-05-20

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Departing June 19 through July 12

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FRIDAY, MAY 20, 1988

Youth Aliyah Seeks To Make
U.S. Students Into Ambassadors


News Editor


lla Bar-Illan hopes
that after Detroit Jew-
ish students spend as
much as a year or as little as
one semester in Israel, they
will become friends of the
Jewish state for life. But, first
they have to get to Israel.
As executive director for the
U.S. and Canada of the Youth
Aliyah department of the
Jewish Agency, Bar-Illan is
making that opportunity a
In Detroit recently to pro-
mote the Detroit High School
in Israel program, an affiliate
of Project Discovery, the
American-Israel high school
program of Youth Aliyah,
Bar-Illan met with principals
of Jewish day and religious
schools and those of public
high schools which have a
high Jewish student popula-
tion to describe the program.
What a 10th, 11th or 12th
grader can expect by par-
ticipating in the Detroit High
School in Israel program is a
typical American high school
curriculum, including
English, American literature,
math, science, history and
physical education. Electives-
are available in computer
science, French and Spanish.
Another 20 hours per week
are devoted to Hebrew, Bible,
Israel geography, Jewish
ethics and tradition. Field
trips are offered and extra-
curricular activities such as
sports, ceramics, folk dancing,
handicrafts and more are en-
couraged. Social service also
is recommended as an extra-
curricular activity, and
students can choose to teach
English to Ethiopian
children, help the elderly or
do some agricultural work.
Detroit students will have an
opportunity to work in the
local Jewish community's
Project Renewal city of
In addition, students are
"adopted" by Israeli families
so they have places to visit on
weekends, holidays and dur-
ing vacation time.
"The main idea is to make
friends with the Israelis,"
Bar-Illan explained. "If they
never come to Israel again,
the students will remain
friends with Israel. They will
gain a real insight into Israel
and into their personal iden-
tification (as Jews)."
Pre-requisites include a B
average or better and ade-
quate medical and

Ella Bar-Man is traveling through the U.S. to encourage high school
students to spend a year studying in Israel.

psychological assessments.
Knowledge of Hebrew is not
necessary. Credits earned will
be transferable to U.S. high
schools. "It has to be a special
kid (to participate in the pro-
gram)," and he or she has to
be motivated, Bar-Illan
Current plans for a Detroit
high school experience in
Israel call for students to
spend one semester either in
Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
However, there are projections
to turn it into a one-year plan.
Such programs already exist
between Israel and cities and
countries such as Los
Angeles, San Francisco,
Philadelphia, Miami, Mon-
treal, Toronto, South
America, France, England,
Sweden, Australia, New
Zealand and South Africa.
Bar-Illan also has scheduled
meetings with Jewish leaders
in Cleveland and Chicago to
set up a Midwest high-school-
in-Israel program.

So far, there are 319 U.S.
and Canadian students in
Israel participating in the
one-year prorgram. A total of
85 students from South
Africa and Philadelphia are
enrolled in semester pro-
grams. Nearly 900 students
are participating in Project
Discovery overall.
Bar-Illan is no stranger to
education. Prior to taking her
present post, she spent seven

years as director of the educa-
tion department of Beit
Hatefutsot — the Museum of
the Jewish Diaspora; and for
11 years was the director of
the American Zionist Youth
Foundation summer pro-
grams. She is on leave to
develop the high-school-in-
Israel program.
Bar-Illan said that the
eight-year-old Project
Discovery is aimed at giving
the students a Jewish ex-
perience in Israel. Rather
than follow the calendar via
the non-Jewish holidays, as is
done in the U.S. and most
other countries, students will
proceed through the Jewish
year via Rosh Hashanah,
Chanukah, Pesach and
She said she hoped a
minimum of 15 Detroit-area
students will enroll in the
program, which begins in
February 1989. The applica-
tion deadline is Dec. 31.
Students are responsible for
the $3,000 fee (not including
airfare), and according to Bar-
Illan, subsidies will be
available locally and in Israel
to qualified students. The
Jewish Welfare Federation's
Conference of Division
Chairmen has approved the
Jewish community's par-
ticipation in the program,
which it will oversee locally,
and is currently considering
a proposal to provide $1,000

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