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May 05, 1989 - Image 105

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-05-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

TEENS

David Dressler, Jodie Weiss and Sara Poger
plan thei r
strategy for a game simulating the Middle East
peace process.

Jennifier im, Leor Sloops and Exile Gottfried'.
"We share everything. Nothing's private!'

The 19 participants in Project Discovery.

Making A Discove

Area teenagers are learning about more than
Israel during a 4 1/2-month study program.

DAVID HOLZEL

Israel Correspondent

I

he Syrian envoy
lobbies the represen-
tative from the Soviet
Union for greater eco-
nomic assistance and
more military supplies. "In
return, we will help you get a
stronger foothold in the Mid-
dle East," the Syrian
promises.
In the doorway, Israeli and
Jordanian agents line up,
hoping to get the ear of the
Soviet representative.
. At the American mission, a
U.S. envoy returns after
mediating between the Pales-
tine Liberation Organization

and Israel. At the same time,
the Israeli representative
returns from the Soviet mis-
sion with an agreement for a
joint Israeli-Soviet basketball
tour. Only moments are left to
alert the press.
Historical anachronisms
mix with political im-
plausibility. But for 19
American Jewish high school
10th and 11th graders spen-
ding the semester in Israel, a
game simulating the Middle
East peace process was un-
charted territory.
"We realized that there isn't
an easy solution to these pro-
blems," says Erika Gottfried
of Southfield, one of 12
students from the
Detroit-area.

Project Discovery, the
4%-month session that
brought the 19 teenagers to
Jerusalem in February was
designed to blend the
academic requirements of
American high schools with a
hands-on introduction to
Israeli life, the Hebrew
language and Jewish
religious practices, according
to Project Discovery's director,
David Breakstone.
The program was planned
for Detroiters by shaliach
Yefet Ozery and United
Hebrew Schools Superinten-
dent Ofra Fisher. But interest
was more widespread and
Project Discovery attracted
seven teenagers from nearby
Chicago and Cleveland and

from as far away as Fort
Worth, Tex., and Swampscott,
Mass.
The day-long Middle East
simulation game was one of a
series of weekly activities,
like visits to the Yad Vashem
Holocaust memorial and the
Diaspora Museum, intended
to bring Jewish. history and
Israeli life into focus for the
students.
"Yad Vashem doesn't give
you numbers, it gives you
emotion," Jamie Pollack of
Farmington Hills said after
his visit to the Jerusalem
Memorial.
The students say their ex-
perience in Israel is taking
them beyond the classroom,
even beyond learning about
the Jewish state. They also
are discovering what it means
to leave friends and family
behind and to trade the
familiar for homesickness
("The amount of mail we
receive is directly propor-
tional to our happiness'' as
one student put it) in a coun-
try without Burger Kings and

where telephones aren't con-
venient to use.
Participants say the group
became close quickly. "Here
you have to learn to live to-
gether," says Jennifer Sima of
Southfield. "We share every-
thing. Nothing's private."
"You learn more give and
take," Erika Gottfried adds.
"If you're having a fight with
someone, you know you can't
let it blow up out of control."
"I've learned in-
dependence," says David
Dressler from Huntington
Woods. "If anybody told me
that I would be on my own for
five months and still do my
homework, I would have
laughed at them."
Project Discovery is not the
first program of its kind, but
it is unique to Detroit. It is co-
sponsored by the Conser-
vative movement's Ramah
Programs in Israel and the
American High School in
Israel Program of Youth
Aliyah. The $3,000 tuition
was supplemented by a
$1,000-per-student grant

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS 105_

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