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May 13, 2010 - Image 43

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2010-05-13

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teen profile

by Mari Cohen

S tudent Exchange Ann Arbor teens learn Israeli teens share much in common.

Ann Arbor
t's not often that we get to corn-
pletely experience another cul-
tore and develop friendships
with people our age who live thou-
sands of miles away. I was lucky to
have this opportunity earlier this year
on the Nahalal-Ann Arbor Student
I hoped that in journeying to Naha-
lal — Ann Arbor Jewish Federation's
Partnership 2000 sister community
— I would meet new people and get a
glimpse into life on a moshav in Isra-
el. The result? More than I could have
ever wished for.
When I was in eighth grade, a few
students at my school participated in
the Hikone (Japan) exchange pro-
gram. I always thought it seemed like
an exciting, memorable experience.
So when I learned about the simi-
lar exchange to Nahalal this year, it
seemed like an amazing adventure.
I found few differences between
me and teens in Nahalal. We like the
same movies and TV shows and we
listen to the same music. Our conver-
sations often span the same interests.
After just a day or so, we were already

were treated like family.
laughing and joking to-
I came away from this
gether. By the end of
trip with a new knowledge
10 days, it was like we
of the Israeli culture and
were old friends.
with friendships I hope to
That we speak dif-
keep forever. I am already
ferent languages may
counting down the days
seem to be an impor-
until my new friends from
tant difference, but as
Nahalal come to Ann Ar-
we got to know each
bor this fall.
other, the language bar-
To all teens who have
rier was almost never an
chance to take a trip
issue. They knew plenty
like this, I urge you to take
of English, putting my
advantage of the opportu-
limited conversational
Hebrew knowledge to
I'm sure I will remem-
absolute shame. When
Israeli teens Dayana and Michal with new friend Mari Cohen of Ann Arbor
ber the Nahalal exchange
there were blanks in
or at someone's house and it will take
trip as one of the best ex-
the conversation for un-
less than five minutes to get there. periences in my life. {
known words, we taught each other
They can stay out late at night and
things. I came away with a nearly
walk back in the dark without having
quadrupled Hebrew vocabulary.
to worry about any kind of crime.
Mari Cohen, 15, is
Aside from language, the Nahalal
a sophomore at
I have to set up rides and car-
moshav is a different environment
Community High School
pools with parents when I want to see
than the neighborhoods in Ann Arbor.
in Ann Arbor. She was
many of my friends, so I am envious
Built in a circle design, Nahalal is very
joined on the trip by
of this set-up. In fact, I am jealous of
small, so you are never more than a
other Ann Arbor teens:
many things in Nahalal: the wonder-
mile from where you started. Because
Isaac Fink, Hannah King,
ful weather, the beautiful landscape
Jonathan Saltzman, Lilly
of this, the teens can see each other
and the genuine kindness of everyone
Scheerer, Eli Sugerman and Sarah Zimmer-
often without complication. They can
there. From the minute we arrived, we
meet each other at their youth club

slice of life

making the scene JARC and BBYO

The "Club Scene Spring Dance" was a fantastic event filled with food, fun and friends. The night started off by reuniting old
friends and meeting new ones in the Jewish Community Center's Beverly Prentis Wagner Teen Center in West Bloomfield. BBYO
chapters Fisher AZA and Emunah BBG joined in on the fun as they danced the night away with their new friends from the JARC

Club Scene.
Teaching dance after dance this night could not
have happened without the generousity of Star Trax
Entertainment and its amazing emcees, Dennis and
The Spring Dance is one of many cool programs for
teens and adults with disabilities held monthly as part

Akiva volunteers honored: freshman Hannah Korelltz,

of JARC's Club Scene.

senior Ruthie Lehmann, freshman Madeleine Warshay,

sophomore liana Goldmeler and senior Molly Gold-

meier, with Akiva administrator Kathy Skar and Rabbi

David Potter

as the senior adults look forward to talking to them.
Other teens interested in participating in the Shab-
bat Shalom by Phone program should call Michelle

Chekan, (248) 592-5035. ! !

JARC's Extreme Teen Committee

Help plan and market teen participation in JARC
events including SpringElation at the Zoo, Flowera-
thon, Club Scene Dances, Bingo and more. Earn
community services hours and give back to your
community by being part of a great organization
serving people with disabilities. Contact Lindsey
Fox-Wagner, (248) 538-6610 ext. 349 or e-mail
lindseyfoxwagner@jarc.org .

Pictured: Joey Freedman of Walled Lake and Zack Blumstein, Jason
Rubenfire, Josh Morof, all of West Bloomfield, Stacey Salzberg, Alyssa

Stone of West Bloomfield and Jacob

teen2teen May 13 . 2010 TT3

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