Onward, a transformative program of Birthright Israel is designed to provide young adults with an immersive internship experience in Israel, and has been playing a pivotal role in helping forge new Jewish friendships locally.

The South Palm Beach County Onward Israel program offers our community’s 19-27 year olds, an opportunity to live, learn, and work in Tel Aviv, Israel for 8-weeks over the summer. The program’s unique model not only prioritizes gaining important resume-building internship experience in the participant’s field of study, but also advances our Federation’s mission of fostering connections to Israel and to a community of like-minded Jewish peers.

The program, which is generously supported by the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, the Judi and Allan Schuman Center for Israel Engagement, and the Jacobson Jewish Community Foundation, offered this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 28 participants to spend this past summer in Israel.

Onward Israel: A Gateway to Jewish Friendships

One of the Onward Israel program participants, Holly Shulman, a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, shares her heartfelt experience. “I’m so happy I decided to do Onward through South Palm Beach! My family only moved to Delray Beach in September, so I was a bit hesitant to apply because I didn’t know anyone in the area. I am so thankful I did because I had the most amazing summer and met so many people in the Boca area, who I now can call friends and can’t wait to see when we are back home!” Holly said.

This Onward Israel journey was also a convergence of past connections and new experiences that wove together a tapestry of lasting Jewish friendships. Among them were four girls who had once shared the joys of sleepaway camp during their childhood, and found themselves embarking on the Onward adventure together. “Finding out 3 other girls from my camp were going to be on my Onward experience was a wonderful surprise!” said participant Ashley Zuckerman. “We were able to reconnect in Israel, form the best friendships, and now we have the most special Onward memories to look back on together!”

Equally heartening were the reunions of South Palm Beach County high school friends, now scattered across colleges throughout the nation, who were brought back together through their shared Onward Israel journey. The interns navigated the intricacies of life in Israel, the challenges of real-life work experiences, and the thrill of a new and exciting culture. The Onward experience now serves as a glue that binds these Jewish young adults together.

Onward Israel: Fostering Lasting Connections

What these testimonials from participants demonstrate, is the power of experiences like our South Palm Beach County Onward Israel program, in creating an environment that encourages community and personal growth for our next generation of Jewish adults. Whether it’s navigating a new city, trying local cuisine, or working on collaborative projects, these shared experiences create a strong foundation for lasting friendships.

To learn more about Onward Israel, visit the link below or call Betsy Lampert, Planning Associate, Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County at 561-852-3155.

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