A major change in the itinerary calls for the teens to stay at kibbutz guesthouses, rather than at hotels in Israel's metropolitan centers. Although they will still experience the excitement these cities have to offer, they will return to the highly secure kibbutzim upon finishing their tours of important and historic sites.
"We have taken every conceivable measure to make sure that participants have an experience that is not only as safe and secure as possible, but as exciting and enjoyable as it can be," said Paul Reichenbach, co-director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations' Youth Division. "We wish every Reform youth had the opportunity to have an Israel experience," he said. "We are confident that these trips will provide our teens with an unforgettable experience that strengthens their ties to Judaism and the State of Israel."
Reichenbach said NFTY is offering two separate Israel programs:
The NFTY L'dor V'dor Exodus program begins in Europe, where participants will spend a week visiting Jewish sites in Prague and Krakow and touring Auschwitz/Birkenau before departing from the island of Cyprus on a three-day recreation of the Exodus voyage to Israel. The teens will then spend four weeks in Israel.
The NFTY Israel Adventure is a four-week program that offers teens an exciting Israel experience without the European component.
After arriving in Israel, participants will have a full touring experience, visiting Jerusalem - where they will stay at Kibbutz Tzubah, a picturesque kibbutz in the Judean hills - the Galilee, Golan, Tel Aviv, and the Negev Desert, where they will undertake a unique camping experience. The NFTY youth will have the chance to interact with Israeli youth, and will also get to choose between four exhilarating five-day adventures, including a chance to sample kibbutz life, a stay at an Israeli Army boot camp, an archaeological dig, and a "sea-to-sea" adventure where they will hike, camp, and bike their way from the Galilee to the Mediterranean.
NFTY's summer Israel trips will begin leaving at the end of June. For more information, visit NFTY's Israel Web site.
The North American Federation of Temple Youth is part of the Youth Division of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues across the United States and Canada. UAHC services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.