Holiday Posts Israel 73! Commemorations, Celebrations, and Ongoing Connections
In Young Judaea, our chanichim, campers and program participants, develop a lifelong personal connection to Israel. Many maintain their connection by integrating Israel intro their everyday lives, wherever they may be. This lifelong connection manifests itself in the choice or our professions, where we volunteer or lead, how we allocate our tzedakah, what we read, watch and listen to, and in what we transmit to our children and grandchildren. And some choose to make Israel their home. In fact, according to a recent study, 12% of surveyed alumni across all Young Judaea programs, currently live in Israel.
Brenna Hymowitz, a recent Year Course participant, is currently in the process of making Aliyah.
Here is her story.
Being a part of Young Judaea since I was eight years old, Zionism has always been an important aspect of my Jewish identity. It was the highlight of my year to return as a camper each year to Camp Young Judaea Texas and be a part of a Jewish community that kept me safe, educated, and happy to be a Jewish girl from Katy, Texas.
Following the footsteps of Young Judaeans before me, I spent my first real time in Israel through Year Course. The experience opened my eyes to a place that I had only dreamt of and yearned for in my heart. I was able to soak up what it means to be an Israeli through adventures to visit with various communities and conversations with the people I met there. In addition, living with Israeli’s gave me an extended family and granted me a new perspective on Jews from around the world.
I am so lucky to have been a part of a movement that pushed me to strengthen and learn more about my Jewish identity than I had ever done before. Year Course gave me the opportunity to create lifetime friendships, make incredible memories, and tangibly understand and experience the land of Israel. I fell in love with the culture, the people, the language, and the land itself. Young Judaea and Israel helped me bring out the best version of myself and follow my heart with the decision to make Aliyah. My heart and soul is drawn to serving and protecting the miracle that is this country. With that said, I plan to draft in the fall as I finish my first year as a student at IDC Herzliya. I am so grateful for the clarity my experiences have given me in making the most important and meaningful decision of my life.
This year, for me, Yom Ha’atzmaut will feel different. This year I will dance in the streets and sing alongside the waving flag of a country that is now my home. I will feel the land beneath my feet, I will smile with its people, and I will celebrate the freedom of being a Jew in the land of Israel.
Young Judaea helped me to pave the path of my Zionism, bring depth to my Jewish identity, and make Israel my home, as it was always meant to be. I believe in Young Judaea and its power to allow people to explore who they are as a Jews, and as people. This Yom Ha’atzmaut, I encourage everyone to pause and reflect. Embrace your freedom to be a Jew and reflect on what Israel truly means and serves to you and your Jewish identity.
Brenna Hymowitz, Year Course 2019-2020