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The Teen Israel Experience = Jewish Continuity

AUGUST 10, 2017 – Excerpts of post-trip reflections by teens who went on the Lappin Foundation’s 2017 Youth to Israel Adventure in July.

Tony Gluskin

After going on the life-changing Y2I 2017 trip this July, I discovered a newfound urgency and importance to remain Jewish and raise my children Jewish as well. We spent two weeks traveling the magnificent and historic country of Israel and after learning about the culture, society, and history firsthand, I knew automatically what my duty was as a Jew. From various public speakers and tour educators, my eyes were opened to the drastically declining numbers of the Jewish population. It was time for me to face the facts. As a member of this shrinking community, I have to do my part in saving the Jewish religion. Every single Jew can have such a positive impact on the Jewish community just by raising their kids Jewish and teaching them to do the same.

– Tony Gluskin, Marblehead

Victor Kratik

I believed I was a proud Jew before this trip, but that does not compare to how much pride I have in the Jewish people and myself right now. The trip to Israel has left a lasting impact in my life to educate others about Israel and eliminate any prejudiced opinions anyone has toward Israel and its people. In addition, I will advocate for Israel and make sure that the 90 percent of people in the gray area will lean toward being pro-Israel, just like me. I enjoyed my time in Israel and realized how proud I am to be Jewish and have friends who share the same morals and beliefs, those who I can trust because we come from the same ancestry. We are a family. I realized I have a second home away from home in Israel, an accepting and amazing place that truly changed my perspective on life and what it means to be a Jew. I will further my efforts in educating others about Israel and advocate for the Jewish people whenever necessary. Being a Jew is great, and I gained so much pride from this incredible trip. I would like to thank everyone involved at the Lappin Foundation for sending us to the homeland and most importantly, changing my life.

– Victor Kratik, Swampscott

Joshua Liberman

My time in Israel on the 2017 Y2I trip filled me with a great sense of pride. Seeing 2,000 years of history in a democratic Jewish state made me thankful for every minute spent in the country. Israelis are constantly fighting to keep their country alive, and we must do our part to maintain the Jewish state. The Y2I experience strengthened and validated my need to fight against anti-Semitism and taught me how to defend Israel. I return to the United States unafraid to speak out against hatred. Prior to the trip, I lacked the confidence to try to instill change. I sat on the sidelines saying nothing when confronted by adversity. However, I learned through the trip that it is no longer enough for me to merely accept hateful encounters as part of growing up Jewish in the U.S. It is necessary to stand up to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments, not just for me but for the Jewish people as a whole.

– Joshua Liberman, Reading

Emma Mair

How do I go about raising my kids Jewish and ensuring the chain so that they will also raise their kids Jewish? I would send them to Israel. I didn’t think that my connection with Judaism could deepen any more, but it did. Seeing the Western Wall is an indescribable feeling. The history and perseverance that the Wall represents are incredible and it is exemplary of the history and perseverance of our religion. If my children and any Jewish children are able to experience what I did at the Wall and in Israel, I think it will be very hard to turn their back on the history that brought them to be standing in such a holy and ancient land. Going to Israel this summer was truly life-changing. My outlook on life is more positive, more intellectual, more careful, and more meaningful.

– Emma Mair, Middleton

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