ISRAELNOW Ignites 8th Graders' Jewish Journey

Posted on 04/12/2024 @ 06:00 AM

Tags: Teen Education & Engagement, IsraelNow

How can an experience in California in just five days achieve the goals of helping 8th graders explore their Jewish identity, deepen their connection to Israel, and build relationships with Jewish peers from across the country?


IsraelNow has proven it's possible!


Originating from Chicago, IsraelNow provides a transformative and enriching experience for Jewish 8th graders in Miami-Dade public schools or non-Jewish private schools during the Miami-Dade Spring Break. This program offers an immersive and guided journey, fostering self-discovery and an understanding of their Jewish heritage.


One major objective of IsraelNow is to nurture and maintain a long-lasting connection and commitment to Jewish life among our community’s youth.


Throughout their journey, participants explored, learned, and created memories to last them a lifetime.


The IsraelNow Miami teens toured San Francisco, visiting iconic sites such as the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point, Pier 39Alcatraz Island, and the historic neighborhood of The Castro, known as one of the first LGBTQ+ neighborhoods in the US and a symbol for the LGBTQ movement worldwide.

Additionally, teens enjoyed some truly unique experiences – they participated in a Tikkun Olam project by volunteering to serve meals at GLIDE, which serves a diverse cross-section of homeless and insecurely housed individuals and families.


Our students also learned about Israeli cooking by answering questions that led to an interactive cooking session with a professional Israeli chef. They had the opportunity to enjoy the dishes they prepared themselves!

Another highlight of the program occurred when the teens participated in an engaging session designed to help them reflect on and discuss the events of October 7th and its aftermath.


In a supportive environment, they had the chance to share their experiences and thoughts on how the conflict has affected them and its broader implications on their view of Israel.


The activity included exploring various materials such as photos, paintings, maps, and song lyrics to encourage thoughtful discussion.


An area of conversation focused on the different narratives of the conflict, emphasizing that not all Palestinians are associated with the terrorist organization, Hamas.


This dialogue aimed to help teens grasp the complexities of the long-standing conflict and foster a deeper comprehension and insight into Israel.


The goal of IsraelNow is to ignite a deep and lasting connection with Israel and fellow Jewish teens, fostering increased community involvement and contributing to their Jewish future.

What do parents have to say?


My son came home with an even stronger Jewish identity and a deeper connection to Israel. Through service opportunities, acts of social justice, meeting and engaging with Israeli teens, and attending Shabbat services, the immersive component was there, relevant and strong! He met friends from around the country and felt a strong sense of belonging and community


“Not only did they have the opportunity to connect with teens from other Jewish communities, but they also learned about Israel and what it truly means to be Jewish. This trip had a profound impact on my daughter, as she returned with a plethora of stories and meaningful thoughts. She expressed her desire to learn more and participate in future activities and trips like this one.”

Applications for the 2025 Spring Break program for 8th graders in public or non-Jewish private schools will open soon.

Do you know a rising 8th grader, who does not attend a Jewish Day School?

Share this information with them!

For more information, contact Claudine Ackerman, IsraelNow Miami Program Coordinator at


To learn more about IsraelNow & other CAJE Teen Programs visit