IsraelNow: Educating Teens How to Handle Antisemitism

Posted on 02/23/2024 @ 05:00 AM

Tags: IsraelNow, Teen Education & Engagement

Originating in Chicago, IsraelNow offers a transformative and enriching experience for Jewish 8th graders in Miami-Dade public schools or non-Jewish private schools over Spring Break. It serves as an immersive and guided journey, imparting knowledge about both themselves and their heritage.


The primary goals for the program include developing Ahavat Yisrael, a connection to the land, state, and people of Israel, strengthening the teen Jewish peer social networks, and building their Jewish self-confidence.


IsraelNow aims for participants to forge enduring connections with Jewish life and community, encouraging ongoing engagement in programming throughout their high school years.


Unfortunately due to the situation in Israel, IsraelNow made the difficult decision to cancel their trip to Israel this Spring. However, we remained dedicated to providing a high-quality Jewish experience for 8th-grade teens.


This year, the IsraelNow program will take place in Northern California, promising an exciting journey filled with adventure, discovery, learning, and fun.

It’s been planned as an immersive and experiential experience, featuring meaningful hands-on activities and discussions centered around Jewish values and contemporary Jewish identity, including conversations around Israel and current antisemitism.


Our Miami group is diverse and represents all the major areas of Miami: North Dade, South Dade, and the Beach/Central areas. Participants belong to 4 different synagogues (7 participants are unaffiliated), and they attend 11 different middle schools and 1 homeschool.


Miami teens will be joined by their Jewish peers from Broward County, Cleveland, and Chicago, totaling 150 teens undertaking this enriching program. 

In early February, our IsraelNow teens gathered for their first session where they received an opportunity to get to know one another, laying the foundation for building the Miami IsraelNow community.


CAJE facilitated programming focused on exploring the concept of Zionism as well as of antisemitism, gaining insights into the present situation in Israel, and equipping participants with effective strategies for navigating the information teens are seeing on social media.


Particularly concerning was the discussion surrounding the prevalence of hate and antisemitism encountered by participants both online and in person.


Research, such as the 2023 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, has highlighted this concerning trend. The survey uncovered that teenagers continue to engage with these platforms at a significant frequency, with some admitting to near-constant usage.

Shockingly, our Miami IsraelNow participants disclosed they have personally observed discrimination against Jewish people and Israel online at alarming rates.


CAJE provided our teens with a safe space to discuss their experiences and offered several strategies to address these issues, whether encountered in person or online.


The teens also explored the website, which showcases our community’s rich menu of programs and resources for teens and their families, making opportunities easier to access.

For more information about IsraelNow, please contact Claudine Ackerman, IsraelNow Program Coordinator at

Follow the Instagram account JTEENMiami to stay up-to-date on what is happening in our community, including IsraelNow.