From Adam and Eve to the modern man and woman, every human in history holds a place on the tree of life. All Jewish people, no matter where they live, are connected through their family backgrounds. The JCC Global Teen Fellows will dig deeper into the past to discover and trace their familial connections from around the globe.
This is a program for 14–17-year-olds to travel internationally, while exploring similarities and differences in Jewish culture around the world.
In preparation for the trip, the teenagers, along with their parents and siblings, will conduct a genealogical study and assemble their family tree. Most will find that they have family members from countries all over the world. This will be the participants’ first step in discovering their Jewish identities and answering the question “Who am I?”
The Merage JCC is partnering with the Jewish community centers in Mexico City, Mexico and Kfar Yona, Israel to allow their participants the opportunity to develop intercultural connections with other Jewish teenagers.
From June 22-29, the teenagers will travel to Mexico City to learn how Jewish culture has influenced Mexico over the years. They will tour the city to learn about its vast history and participate in a group community service project.
The travelers will also stay with teenagers from the Mexico City Jewish community center and their families to give them the opportunity to experience life as a member of a Jewish family in Mexico City.
To meet teenagers in the program with interests similar to their own, the travelers will participate in an activity of their choosing while they are on the trip. The available activities include: basketball, tennis, soccer, gymnastics, vocal music, Jewish music band, dance, and travel journalism.
Additionally, the travelers will compare their family trees with their global counterparts in hopes of connecting the families to similar ancestry or geographical origins.
The following year, the Merage JCC will host the travelers, and in 2017, the group will travel to Kfar Yona, Israel to explore Judaism at its roots.
This program will allow teenagers to form international friendships, embrace their Jewish identities, and develop a deeper understanding of their past, so that they too can become an important part of Jewish history. _
Hannah Schoenbaum is a contributing writer to Kiddish Magazine.