Resolution Honoring the Eisendrath International Exchange (EIE) Program on its 50th Anniversary

Adopted by the 71st URJ Biennial

Since 1961, more than 3000 high school students from across North America have participated in the NFTY Eisendrath International Exchange (EIE) High School in Israel semester program. These outstanding students spent 4 or 6 intense and rewarding months developing deep personal connections to Israel and the Jewish people, created warm and welcoming Reform Jewish communities, immersed themselves in the story and journey of the Jewish people, learned to speak the Hebrew language and discovered a love of Jewish living and learning. Generations of students have returned to hometowns, high schools and synagogues having had a powerful personal growth experience that created self confidence and independence, preparing them for college and adult life and inspired to explore how they would live intentional, engaged and meaningful Jewish lives.

Over the past 50 years, EIE has been recognized as the most intense, challenging and rewarding experience that the Union for Reform Judaism offers high school students. EIE alumni are leaders of Jewish communities in North America, Israel and across the globe. Many EIE graduates are outstanding rabbis, cantors, Jewish educators and communal leaders. They look back on their teen semester in Israel as the transformational moment in their young lives.

Now based on the NFTY EIE campus on Kibbutz Tzuba nestled in the Judean Hills near Jerusalem, more than 150 outstanding young people annually have the opportunity to learn under the guidance and supervision of visionary educators. Students complete their EIE semester or summer session with a  powerful sense of pride in themselves and their people and with a profound understanding of their role and responsibility for building a future for Israel and Reform Judaism.

Therefore, the Union for Reform Judaism resolves to:

  1. Honor the NFTY EIE High School in Israel program for fifty years of guiding and inspiring young Reform Jews to take personal responsibility for building bridges of connection and understanding between North America and Israel while launching extraordinary journeys of Jewish discovery and commitment; and  

  2. Acknowledge the leadership of the NFTY EIE administration and faculty for their deep dedication to Reform Jewish teens and for providing our Movement with so many thoughtful, passionate,  Jewishly-literate graduates who have contributed to the vitality of Reform Judaism.