Year Course Year Coursers turned NYC Roommates

By Young Judaea

Edan Coben, Ilan Goldstein, Jared Schermer, and Jake Siegel were all brought together through various Young Judaea programs, culminating in having the time of the their life on Year Course! Now, the four of them live in New York City and recently hosted the 20’s/30’s Shabbat Dinner on October 20th (with over 50 attendees!)

We caught up with them to ask about their friendship, and favorite YJ memories.

How did you all meet? 

Edan: I met Jake and Ilan on our amazing Year Course. I met Jared shortly after (and many others) through my Year Course friends.

Ilan: Jared and I met for the first time at camp Tel Yehudah in 2011 but did not really become friends until 2018 during our first unofficial YJ winter trip. I met Jake in the summer of 2014 a few months before our Year Course started when he was visiting some of his camp friends who were my close friends from high school. It was then that I officially became his first friend on Year Course. I met Edan in the first week of Year Course at one of our Siyurim in Bat Yam and within six weeks we became roommates during the volunteer period shuffle.

Jared: Edan, Jake and Ilan went on Year Course with my best friends from Camp Judaea. So when they got back we became close over the years. I like to say I became friends with them without having to pay for it, but I definitely still have Year Course FOMO. 

Jake: I met Edan and Ilan through Year Course, and I met Jared through Coby Tuchman, Ari Lusky and Leon Faigenblat after YC in Miami. All of us have been brought together both directly and indirectly by Young Judaea.


What YJ programs did you do? 

Edan: I grew up going to CYJ Texas where I was a counselor for two summers when I got older and then had a blast on Year Course! 

Ilan: I spent two years at camp Tel Yehudah, where I first became convinced that I would go on Year Course. After coming back from Year Course I attended 3 annual JNF conferences as part of the YJ delegation. 

Jared: Camp Judaea (2006-2010, staff 2013 and 2015), TY and Machon. 

Jake: I actually hadn’t done any YJ programs in the past, me finding Year Course was a purely serendipitous happening. One that has had a profound effect on my life.


What are you all doing in NYC now? 

Edan: I’m working as a Software Engineer for an agriculture company and connecting with lots of amazing Jewish people. 

Ilan: I currently work in clinical research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and spend my free time exploring the city and introducing my YJ circle to other friends who live here. 

Jared: I work as a creative at an advertising agency. Edan also filled a wall in our apartment with like 120 restaurants, venues and experiences around NYC, so we’ve been trying to hit as many of those as we can. Ask him about it. 

Jake: Lots of time spent with the Young Judaeans in the city, playing soccer, and shredding up the guitar.


What’s the most unforgettable memory from Young Judaea? 

Edan: Celebrating my 19th birthday on Year Course in Jerusalem with so many amazing people. Love the friendships we built. 

Ilan: Walking around the Old City of Jerusalem during one of the first days of Spring with three friends who I had known for 18 years, 5 years, and 6 months (in order of oldest to newest) and feeling equal love for all of them and spiritual connection to the space around me. 

Jared: It’s got to be the Camp Judaea trip to NYC when we were in Kesher. A lot of stories have withstood the test of time from that. 

Jake: Sorry to be this way but truly the entire year of Year Course was unforgettable and something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life 


Can you share a funny or unexpected incident from a Young Judaea event or camp? 

Edan: The kitchen raids I led as a camp counselor, we had permission to sneak into the kitchen and “steal” ice cream but the kids had so much fun I’ll always remember how happy it made the campers.

Jared: One time a camper climbed a tree at CJ and people thought he was missing. For like hours. Turns out he just fell asleep in the tree, and he was really surprised when he woke up.  

Jake: I dropped Edan on his face while trying to spin him around on Year Course, luckily he forgave me soon after and we can laugh about it now.


How has Young Judaea influenced your Jewish identity? 

Edan: My time with Young Judaea has made me very proud to be Jewish. It has challenged me to think deeper about what is means to be Jewish and how it can enrich your life. 

Ilan: I have unofficially been a part of Young Judaea since I was in the womb. As a legacy Year Courser (Dan “Spor” Goldstein, ’79-’80) and former resident of Kibbutz Ketura, I’ve grown up with strong Zionist values and a drive to be part of Tikkun Olam.

Jared: YJ gave me my friends, spirit, life outlook and a sense of humor, all of which I’d say are pretty Jewish. It also gave me a strong connection to Israel that’s only grown since. 

Jake: YJ helped my communication skills while discussing Jewish life and Israel with others. It’s important because it’s a big piece of my identity and I’m grateful to my Year Course experience for growing that part of me.


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