SALEM – The Lappin Foundation’s signature Youth to Israel Adventure program – a fully subsidized trip to Israel for teens which celebrates 50 years this year – did not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic.
However, the foundation is planning to run the adventure to Israel to take in the sights, while reinforcing teenagers’ Jewish identity and pride, at the end of this year.
This is instead of the traditional two-week trip over the summer.
And the winter trip will be run for high-school seniors, instead of incoming juniors. It will also be slightly abbreviated.
The trip is open to Jewish students who live or are a member of a temple in the 30 North Shore cities and towns of the foundation’s service area. Teens who live in the service area are eligible to apply for a subsidy to pay for the trip. On average, 100 teens go each year and about 3,000 have taken part in the trip since its inception a half century ago.
The winter Y2I trip will be for a cohort of North Shore students who are seniors as of Sept. 1 who missed out on the trip last summer when it was postponed due to travel restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Normally, Y2I also includes some incoming seniors who might have missed the trip the year before.
The winter trip will only include seniors.
However, in the fall, the Lappin Foundation will be busy planning Y2I for the summer of 2022, a trip that will be for those in between their sophomore and junior years of high school. The foundation will be recruiting for this trip in the fall.
“The summer  trip is not taking place in July, but we are planning a trip from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2 for seniors in high school,” said Deborah Coltin, executive director of the Lappin Foundation. The foundation held a virtual informational meeting for those interested on March 4.
“It’s a little shorter by a couple of days but it’s a last chance to get them to Israel before college,” said Coltin of the desire to have a trip to Israel for this group. A full itinerary of activities is planned. While the students won’t have the opportunity to sleep out in the desert, they will get the chance to climb up to the fortifications on Mount Masada, swim in the Dead Sea and take a camel ride.
The unknowns include what will be the guidelines from the government of Israel, “what’s going to be required of travelers,” and protocols from the US government for travel.
“Right now, we don’t have specific guidelines, but there is a lot of interest,” she said of the trip.
“We are moving forward with planning the trip and we will follow protocols if it’s safe to travel,” Coltin said. Planning includes holding pre-trip informational and educational meetings and providing opportunities for the kids to get to know one another.
Like other Israel trip providers, they have been in touch with a group called the Israel Travel Alliance to keep tabs on developments about traveling to Israel, Coltin said. “We are very well connected, we are connected with people in Israel,” said Coltin as they look to see what it will take to travel safely to the country.
Coltin said everybody can’t wait to get back to Israel. “Israel is waiting for us with open arms,” she said.
Y2I was the brainchild of the late businessman and philanthropist Robert I. Lappin, and it was originally called Let’s Go Israel. Lappin, who grew up in Salem and lived in Marblehead and then Swampscott, died last April at age 98. A celebration of his life and legacy and 50 years of Y2I is scheduled for Sunday, March 21, at 3 p.m.
To register for the Zoom link, go to LappinFoundation.org or contact Susan Feinstein at 978-740-4431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the December 2021 Y2I Trip for Seniors, contact Sharon Wyner at 978-565-4450 or email email@example.com.