Chicago Jewish group brings college students to Israel
The Jewish United Fund initiative brings student leaders, some in ROTC, on 10-day tour in order to advance Israel advocacy.
By YAAKOV KATZ
Bringing college students to Israel to teach them about the country and its various security challenges is not new. It is however when the students are non-Jewish and some of them are even in the military.This week, the Chicago Jewish United Fund (JUF) will bring 10 student leaders from campuses throughout Illinois to Israel as part of its outreach, education and advocacy programming aimed at non-Jews.During the 10-day trip, the student leaders will tour the country and meet government officials as well as scholars from major universities and think tanks.“Our hope is that when they return to campus, these students will bring back lifelong memories and stories they will share with their peers," said Emily Briskman, Israel Education Center Director at the JUF.Some of the students are from schools such as Augustana College, Benedictine University, North Park University, Western Illinois University, and Wheaton College, all of which do not have a functioning Hillel House and have a small Jewish population. A number of the students are in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), a program which puts soldiers through college before their active military service.“The students come from diverse backgrounds, studies and interests, but all have taken a vested interest in connecting with, learning more and advocating for Israel on their college campuses,” Briskman said. “Our goal is to advance awareness and generate support for Israel now and in the future.”
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