JUNE 7, 2018 – Over the past few years, I have had the privilege to participate in the many programs the Lappin Foundation has to offer for the community: Israel advocacy, the Y2I trip to Israel, community service, and so on. Through these experiences, I grew as a young adult and found an enhanced sense of pride for Judaism and Israel. I explored these passions through interning with StandWithUs, engaging in Israel conversations with anyone willing to talk, and most importantly: making it my mission to advocate for Israel and the Jewish people.
While these passions are important to me and correlate to the Lappin Foundation’s role in my life, I want to share a new perspective I have developed from my recent senior project experience with the Lappin Foundation. Above all, I developed a newfound appreciation for the work that goes in behind the scenes: the work that made it possible for me to have those experiences I shared above.
Through working on the basic logistics of a trip to Israel, I realized truly how lucky I am to have an organization like the Lappin Foundation right in my backyard. With over 100 teens traveling to Israel through the Y2I program, it is essential to accommodate the needs of every single person on the trip. Each teen is seen not just as a name on a list, but rather seen as a child, friend, son or daughter. Because of that, they must be looked after in every aspect: easing them of any worries and giving them the sole task of enjoying the beautiful country, Israel.
These simple actions – from organizing checklists for the teens and reminding them what they would need the following morning, to raising money for program expenses, especially for Y2I – are really so much more than simple. All these facets help form the mission of the Y2I trip: to make the best possible Israel experience for every teen present. And that mission is successful – 100 teens annually come home from Israel with a passion for Israel, the Jewish people and a desire to advocate within their communities for Israel.
So when I share my experiences from my time with Lappin, I also share the past, current and future possibilities for the thousands of teens the Lappin Foundation has been able able to reach. That ability to instill Jewish pride within the next generation is the greatest thing we as American Jews can do to help our homeland and family in Israel.
Jewish pride can have its own interpretation for anyone, because any form of it is important. Whether you are involved with your local temple on a consistent basis, or read a small bedtime story with a Jewish meaning, I believe it helps form a strong moral compass within the young generations. Judaism embodies love, unity, and kindness and those aspects must continue to be instilled into the future generations, in order to maintain the strong community we are fortunate to have today.
I want to thank everyone for their commitment to help maintain a strong Jewish community, no matter how small the steps they take. I want to thank everyone for supporting organizations like the Lappin Foundation that are responsible for a great deal of the young Jewish advocates we have in our community. And finally, I want to thank everyone who is proud to be Jewish.
We are family.
Korey Cohan lives in Marblehead and will attend Suffolk University in the fall.