What is AWB?

AWB is a dynamic service-learning program that promotes social responsibility, volunteerism and the Jewish value of Tikun Olam (repairing the world). AWB takes participants to a community in need to engage in intensive volunteering. Participants can expect to spend 20-25 volunteer hours, which can vary from working at an elderly center to helping do light construction. AWB participants will also take part in an evening program each night to give a proper Jewish context to their experience or to better understand the community in which they are working, as well as have fun!

Where is AWB going this year?

*  New Orleans, where participants will take part in the continued rebuilding effort since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and;

* Los Angeles, where participants will tackle issues of poverty and homelessness

What is the cost of AWB and what am I paying for?

Young Judaea places great importance on offering programs that are as affordable as possible without compromising the integrity or quality of the experience. The registration fee this year is $800 for New Orleans and $800 for Los Angeles, not including travel to/from the trip location.

The bulk of our costs consist of the following:

Room and Board (including three kosher meals a day)

Transportation throughout the trip (including a bus to/from the airport, as well as buses and vans for volunteer sites)

Providing proper staff supervision – we pride ourselves on the excellence of our staff and counselors in providing a safe and supervised trip, as well as the high quality of our staff as educators and role models as Jewish activists

Can I participate if I am not in Young Judaea? How many teens will you take?

Of course! This program is open to all North American Jewish 9th-12th graders. We will be taking approximately 60 teens to both New Orleans and Los Angeles this year. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis.

What is the cancellation policy?

Please note that the registration for Alternative Winter Break “AWB” will not be processed until all of the forms and travel arrangements have been submitted and payment has been received in full. Full payment is due by November 1, 2016. If you cancel your participation before November 1, 2016, you will be eligible for a refund of the total program fee, minus a $100.00 cancellation/administration fee. If you cancel after November 1, 2016, you will only be eligible for a 50% refund of the total program fee. After November 23, 2016 no refunds will be available. Regardless of when you cancel, If cancellation occurs after you have purchased and airline ticket, you will be responsible for the full price of the airline ticket. No refunds will be given for participants who are dismissed and/or otherwise removed from or leave AWB for any reason (voluntary or involuntary) once the program has commenced. Young Judaea reserves the right to cancel AWB or program option, or change any of the itinerary due to low enrollment security or other reason as determined by Young Judaea’s sole and absolute discretion. Program prices are subject to change in Young Judaea’s sole and absolute discretion. Young Judaea shall not be responsible for fees or damages associated with such cancellation that participant may incur.

Are subsidies available?

Yes, though our scholarship funds are VERY limited. Each subsidy must be matched by the participant through our fundraising platform and due to our limited funds, Young Judaea can only match up to $100 for the first 30 that apply. However, we have created opportunities for self-fundraising, including a special, customizable page for you to fund as well as some other fundraising ideas. Click HERE to download “Fundraising your Way to Alternative Winter Break”. Subsidy applications are due by Froday, November 1st. Please fill out the subsidy form HERE and return by the deadline to We will notify families of the scholarship decisions before the close of business on October 7th. Unfortunately, we do not have travel reimbursements or travel equalization available for AWB.

Are there any other ways to help subsidize AWB?

There are many Jewish and non-Jewish organizations that are eager to support teens in attending service learning trips like AWB. You can go to your federation, JCC, synagogue, school or Hadassah chapter to find out more about scholarship and subsidy opportunities. If you like we can send you the Young Judaea self-fundraising kit to help.  There are some additional subsidies available for certain cities (including Metrowest Federation in NJ).  Those will be sent to you as we are made aware of them.

With what organizations does Young Judaea work on AWB?

Partners and Co-Sponsors

1. Camp Tel Yehudah (TY) – the national senior leadership camp of Young Judaea, looks to develop leadership among American Jewish teens and runs “Alternative Summer Break,” in which campers spend their time at TY volunteering in the Catskills community. For more information, go to

2. Canadian Young Judaea Jewish Outreach Leadership Training (JOLT) -JOLT is a cutting edge Jewish teen leadership afterschool program in Toronto, sponsored and run by Canadian Young Judaea. To learn more about JOLT please visit their website at


What kind of volunteering will we be doing?

In New Orleans we have and will work with organizations such as Green Light New Orleans, which arranges for low and middle income families to have their standard light bulbs replaced by CFL’s in order to lower NOLA’s carbon footprint and lower costs. We also work with organizations in the Lower Ninth Ward including the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development and the Lower Ninth Ward Village, where projects include resident support and aid (clearing out overgrown lots and yards, moving furniture, painting, etc). We also work with the Recirculating Farms organization to help maintain and improve their community garden, which provides fresh and local produce for the members of the community, as well as throw a festive holiday party and gift give-away for children, ages 8-13, of the community. On Christmas, the service focuses on bringing holiday joy to elderly centers, food pantries, soup kitchens and patient wards of hospitals.

On AWB LA we take a close look at the problem of homelessness as we explore some of it’s root causes and the different forms it takes. We’ll be volunteering with P.A.T.H. (People Assisting the Homeless) at their Hollywood and Los Angeles shelters where we’ll get to know their 130+ residents by making them meals and spending time together on consecutive days. We’ll be decorating and sponsoring a holiday party for the shelter residents, allowing them to participate in the warmness of the holidays. We’ll also be volunteering at Midnight Mission, an organization that serves over 1,000 homeless people daily. Here, you’ll have an opportunity to help serve lunch, while also immersing yourself in a truly unique experience at one of the largest homeless communities in America. Homelessness and poverty can be brought on by many things and result in many disadvantages. On AWB we’ll be volunteering with trauma victims who suffer from homelessness and poverty, and we’ll also be doing food justice work, providing healthier, more affordable options to low income communities.

*program is subject to change, these options are tentative.

How religious is the program? Are kosher meals served?

Young Judaea is a religiously pluralist movement that welcomes those of all streams of Judaism. Jewish tradition is an important element in all of Young Judaea’s programs and we strive to make each participant comfortable regardless of his or her background.

You will have t’fillot (prayer services) every morning. Young Judaea is not affiliated with any single religious movement, and all of these activities are conducted in a religiously pluralist environment. On many occasions, participants will help conduct the services.

All participants will have access to fully vegetarian, dairy and parve food throughout AWB and therefore teens do not need to make other arrangements for the purposes of kashrut.  Should you feel that this does not meet your kashrut needs, please do not hesitate to contact us at to begin a discussion.  We ask that participants do not bring non-kosher items on the trip.

What is the staff to participant ratio?

There will be at least one Young Judaea staff member to every ten participants.

What does a typical day on AWB look like?

Here’s a sample itinerary of what a day could look like:

7:30am                      Boker Tov (Wake up)

8:00                            Aruchat Boker (Breakfast)

8:30                            Depart for work site

9:30 – 12:30pm        Work project

12:30pm – 1:30        Aruchat Tsoharayim (Lunch) at the work site

1:30 – 5:00                Work Project

6:00                            Chofesh (free time)

7:00                            Aruchat Erev (Dinner)

8:00 – 10:00              Evening Group Activity (speaker, discussion, night out, games, bonding)

10:00 – 11:30            Chofesh (free time)

11:30pm                    Lailah Tov (Lights out)


Where do the participants stay while on AWB?

In New Orleans, participants will be staying at the Spring Hill Suites Inn in Downtown New Orleans. Rooms will accommodate 4 participants, with two full-sized beds, so participants should expect to share beds with one other participant. The hotel has a heated pool and offers complimentary Wi-Fi in each room, as well as bedding and towels.  In Los Angeles, we will be staying at the Familian Campus of the American Jewish University.

Can I communicate with my teen during the week?

Participants on AWB will constantly be taking part in structured programs. In order not to disrupt these programs, they will not be allowed to receive or make calls during programmed hours. In the event of family emergency or other issues, we ask that you contact the Young Judaea staff emergency cell phone number that will be provided in a future communication.

Additionally, we plan to have a daily blog and pictures posted of the past days events to showcase and inform what we are doing on the actual program. Please note that because of our uniquely remote location in the Navajo Nation, internet and cell phone service are much spottier and communication may be less frequent.

What information will we receive before AWB?

Before AWB, we will send an information guide to all participants and their parents via e-mail. Among more details regarding the programming for the week, it contains the following relevant information:

*        A complete packing list

*        Information on volunteer sites

*        An itinerary for the week

*        Consent and Release Forms

*        Other procedural explanations

Also, in the fall we will be sending out a weekly email with supplementary readings, articles, and videos about the community we are working with.

How much spending money should I bring?

We suggest that participants bring a limited amount of money to cover travel related expenses to and from AWB. Participants may also want to bring some money for souvenirs or other tourist purchases.

What kind of luggage should I bring?

AWB recommends bringing only one bag/suitcase. Please make sure all baggage is clearly labeled with the participant’s name and destination address. Please note: AWB bears no responsibility for baggage loss or baggage left at AWB.

What is the packing list for the program?

The packing list will be sent one month prior.  There might be additional items that we will add based on work assignments.


How does travel to and from destination city work?

Flights and/or travel to and from the destination city are the responsibility of the participant. More information about the travel guidelines for transportation to and from the destination city will be posted in the coming months.

When should I arrive and depart from New Orleans? 

Arrival – December 25th, 2016

Flights should arrive To MSY Airport from 10:00am – 3:00pm CST on Sunday, December 25th, 2016.

Departure – December 30th, 2016

Flights should depart from MSY International Airport from 10:00am – 3:00pm CST on Friday, December 30th, 2016.

When should I arrive and depart from Los Angeles?

Arrival – December 25th, 2016

Flights should arrive to LAX between 10:00am – 5:00pm PST on Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Departure – December 30th, 2016

Flights should depart from LAX between 8:00am – 2:00pm PST (Red eye flights are possible) on Friday, December 30th, 2016. Travel on Shabbat is the choice of the parent and teen.  We will NOT require any teen to travel on Shabbat

Can I drive to the airport with my friends from my area?

If you so choose, you are welcome to drive to the destination city airport with those friends or family that are 18 years of age and older and meet the group at the airport on Sunday, December 25th and be picked up on Friday, December 30th.

What should I do if I am flying as an unaccompanied minor to AWB? Will there be someone to pick me up?

Please make sure to check with your airline provider what their specific rules and regulations are for flying as an unaccompanied minor. Each airline has a different procedure and some charge fees for this service. Once you check these rules with your airline, please contact us at so we can provide you with the information needed for the airline of our staff member who will be escorting you from the gate to baggage claim. To be considered an unaccompanied minor, your airline must have on record our staff member’s information.

What do I do if I have other questions?

Don’t hesitate to email us at or call us at (917) 595-2100 x209!

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