Sci-Tech Israel 2017: A Summer of Friends, Innovation, and Adventure
A NFTY in Israel Program for teens from across North America
By Greg Kellner, Director, URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech
When we started 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy 3 summers ago, it was a dream come true, a camp where scientific discovery and Judaism are intertwined to create an environment of innovation and discovery. From 6 Points Sci-Tech’s inception, it has been part of that dream to launch an Israel Adventure, for teens to explore Judaism and science in the land of Israel. This coming summer, we are finally achieving that goal, and will be running the first ever Sci-Tech Israel trip, as part of the NFTY in Israel family of summer programs. Now we have the opportunity to bring our innovative spirit of Sci-Tech to work with expert entrepreneurs and researchers in Israel. I cannot wait for this new adventure to begin!
Sci-Tech Israel is a 3-week Israel Adventure for teens entering 10-12th grade from across North America (and is for any teen, not just those that have attended 6 Points in Byfield), to travel to Israel, a living laboratory where science and technology meet the Jewish past, present and future. As Reform Jews, Israel’s history and values play a fundamental role in our community. Additionally, Israel is home to the highest number of scientists, technicians and engineers per capita in the world. On Sci-Tech Israel, teens will have the opportunity to learn about, meet and work alongside the many different individuals who have shaped the science and technology landscape of Israel. Through interactive activities with research institutions such as the Technion and the Weizmann Institute, innovators such as Space IL and Tikkun Olam makers, bridge builders such as the Arava Institute, and iconic places like the Western Wall and Dead Sea, teens will gain an understanding of and connection to the State of Israel through the unique lens of science and technology. In Israel, the modern exists alongside a rich Jewish history and culture, which teens will experience in the mystical city of Safed, where our sages first created the tradition of Kabbalat Shabbat and welcoming the Sabbath Bride. At Yad Vashem, the national Holocaust Museum, teens will gain a deep understanding of how a dark time gave way to the creation of the Jewish state. During a visit to Independence Hall, they will see where David Ben Gurion became the first prime minister and had a dream of a modern and innovative nation. On the streets of Jerusalem and the beaches in Tel Aviv, the group will participate in the daily bustle of modern Israeli life. And of course, there will be endless adventures and laughs, as the group creates lasting memories together.
Just the other day, I met up with friends from my own NFTY in Israel trip almost 20 years ago, and we laughed and smiled about times hiking in the north, working on a kibbutz, and exploring the ancient streets of Jerusalem. I looked through my NFTY in Israel photo album (I included some of these photos below) and remember the sense of achievement I felt reaching the top of Masada and watching the sunrise. I trekked through Israel with my guitar, and led my peers in song as we entered Safed. It is my hope that teens will develop lifelong friendships, as I did, when they experience the history, magic and culture of Israel with their peers from across North America.
Together we will learn about the past, present and future of Israel, and experience a trip like no other! As our teens go in this journey and the will ask and answer questions such as:
How do our Jewish values impact our scientific & technological discovery and Jewish identity?
How does my relationship with the history, culture and values of Israel shape my Jewish identity?
How did our people come to Israel as merchants, craftspeople and traders, and become entrepreneurs, researchers and inventors?
How did such a small country with limited resources turn become a hub for science and technology?
Sci-Tech Israel is a joint program of URJ 6 Point-Sci Tech and NFTY in Israel, the URJ’s Teen Israel travel department. NFTY has been sponsoring outstanding summer and semester programs in Israel for over 50 years. Our group will be led by a professional tour guide from Israel and Rachel Landman, Assistant Director of 6 Points Sci-Tech and newest addition to our team.
Join us on our journey to discover Israel! Visit 6pointsscitech.org/Israel to learn more. There are a variety scholarship opportunities available for the trip from local Jewish federations, synagogues and many other Jewish organizations. Visit 6pointsscitech.org/israel/financial-aid to learn more. We can’t wait to be with you “next year in Jerusalem!”
Sci-Tech Israel is a recipient of support from the New York Teen Initiative for Immersive Summer Experiences for Jewish Teens. The New York Teen Initiative is jointly funded by UJA-Federation of New York and the Jim Joseph Foundation. The Jewish Education Project serves as lead operator of the Initiative.