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June 06, 2003 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-06-06

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

ISRAEL'S CALL

from page 21

itself made him decide to stay another
year. "New York is New York. There's
a lot of Jews there, but it's not the
Jewish country," he said. "There's a
connection to the spirituality of the
land that you don't feel anywhere
else."

Volunteer Service

Then there is Yael Rotter, a precocious
17-year old from Los Angeles. She left
high school after the 11th grade and
is in the Bat Zion program at
Michlelet Orot, a women's college
located in the West Bank town of
Elkana. Bat Zion is a post-high school
seminary program for non-Israeli stu-
dents, similar in structure to a boys'
yeshivah program.
Rotter plans on remaining in Israel
next year, but not for shana bet; she
Will be a volunteer in shirut leumi
(national service). Shirut.leumi is the
alternative for Israeli girls who do not
wish to serve in the army. They are
assigned to work in places such as
nurseries, orphanages, and hospitals
for a minimum of one year, contribut-
ing to their country in whatever way
they can.
"I'm going to be working in a nurs-
ery school for children with disabili-
ties in the city of Modi'in," Rotter
said. "I will be living in a shirut apart-
ment with four other girls, Israelis
who are done with high school. You
get a small salary every month, and
my parents agreed to support me as
well."
Rotter is not making aliyah this
year, but plans to do so after her year
of shirut.
Yael says that it has always been "a
given" that she would live in Israel. "I
came to this type of school [Orot is
one of the more Zionist seminaries]
because of my parents. I grew up in a
house that was very focused on going
to Israel, living in Israel."
The Rotters own an apartment in
Jerusalem and travel to Israel often.
A year of study in Israel is not an
experience that is hastily put behind
or easily relinquished to the realm of
scrapbooks and photo albums.
Whether they are coming from a
Zionist school in the Gush or a more
left-wing yeshivah in Jerusalem —
whether they will be stepping out
onto the battlefield or helping chil-
dren in need — the students who are
coming back to Israel next year pos-
sess a love for the land and strong
Torah values that make both their
communities in America and their
teachers in Israel proud. fl

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6/ 6

2003

23

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