In honor of the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia aims to encourage multi-dimensional engagement with Israel by all members across our diverse communities. This year, we are proud to support five teen programs in the Greater Philadelphia area, helping to cultivate personal connections to Israel and engage our next generation of young leaders.

Gratz Jewish Community High School

In celebration of Israel’s 70th year of independence, Gratz Jewish Community High School hosts “My Vision for Israel’s Future” Teen Creativity Contest. Entries from any genre of creative expression — literary, visual, musical, performing or technological arts — should communicate a vision of Israel’s future, convey a personal connection to Israel and express a distinct creative point of view. Selected entries will be awarded cash prizes and will also be dramatized by White Pine Productions. Submissions are due by April 15, 2018. For more information, click here.

Lower Merion Area Hebrew High School (LMAHH)

In a three-part series aimed to broaden Lower Merion Area Hebrew High School students’ horizons by introducing them to various perspectives, LMAHH will host pro-Israel activist Chloé Valdary to present her experience as a millennial, African American, Christian Zionist. In the spring, students will join with with Gratz JCHS to watch White Pines Productions “storytize” two Israel Story podcasts. Finally, to commemorate Yom HaZikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day), they will screen JerusalemU’s new film, When the Smoke Clears: A Story of Brotherhood, Resilience, and Hope, followed by an interactive discussion.

BBYO Liberty Region

At BBYO’s regional conference, March 16th-18th, 22 chapters from across three states will come together for a Friday-night Tel Aviv festival. At numerous stations — including a coffee shop, a market, a graffiti station, and an opportunity to write letters to IDF soldiers — teens will experience myriad aspects of Israeli life, history and culture. Many of these stations will be run by teens for their peers, and other booths will be run by partner organizations who do work bridging the gap between Israel and Jewish teens.

Habonim Dror Camp Galil

Providing an opportunity for Philadelphia Jewish teenagers to learn about and connect with modern youth culture in Israel, Camp Galil will host a round-robin program (date TBD) with four stations, each focusing on a distinct aspect of Israeli youth life: a youth-culture board game, a short film about school life, a guessing game about Israeli food, and theater games designed to teach Hebrew slang. At the conclusion of the event, Philadelphia teens will participate in a videochat with Israeli teens from a ken (club) of HaNoar HaOved. For more information, contact David Weiss.

Israel American Council (IAC)

The IAC’s Eitanim program is designed to bridge the gap between Israeli Americans and American Jewish teens. In this year’s program, small groups of high school students, under the mentorship of a community professional, will work together to make a product that either demonstrates Israel’s 70 years of history or 70 years of culture. Throughout the 10 months of Eitanim, each participant takes on a leadership role such as CEO or CMO in order to learn valuable skills such as teamwork, project management, storytelling, branding and more.