The Jewish National Fund (JNF) announced on Friday that it would send 250 college students to volunteer in northern Israel during their spring break this March. Their efforts will help make the North home again and will imprint the participants with a lasting connection to the Jewish state, it said.
"Instead of sandy beaches - the standard spring break fare - their hands will sift through burnt soil," JNF said in a statement. "Tans will be acquired but not by lolling in the sun; they'll be earned the hard way, through hours of work. Still, they will experience the time of their lives and create memories and a commitment to last a lifetime by getting their hands dirty rebuilding their homeland.
"As a result of this effort, guest houses across the region - now suffering terrible economic losses from the war - will be full, forests cleared and replanted, environmental clean-up provided, bomb shelters refurbished, attention paid to the needy population, and parks and recreation sites used by northern residents rebuilt," it said.
"The environmental disaster that this region is facing has still not been fully calculated," said Sol Lizerbram, vice president of JNF's Israel Advocacy and Education Department. "As caretakers of the land of Israel for Jewish people everywhere, we need to respond with our sweat as well as our pockets. These students will make a substantial impact on the region both physically by the work they accomplish, and spiritually by showing they care."
The trip will be JNF's second annual Alternative Spring Break connecting college students to the land and the people of Israel by working in projects benefiting communities. During the inaugural trip last year, students had the time of their lives while experiencing what the early pioneers of Israel experienced: building the land of Israel.