By Carol Goodman Kaufman
The High Holidays are our Jewish way of making teshuva and then beginning anew with a clean slate. Many of the students in Hadassah’s Youth Aliyah villages come to us with a slate blank of Jewish knowledge. A full 30% arrive in Israel from the nations of the FSU through the Na’ale (“we will go up”) Elite Academy. This program enables Jewish teenagers from the diaspora to study and complete their high school education in Israel. They come knowing nothing of their Jewish heritage. In fact, many of these students don’t even know that they are Jewish until their parents tell them. Another 30% of our kids are from Ethiopian families, knowledgeable Jewishly, although only about pre-Talmudic Judaism.
But through our Joy of Judaism curriculum, they learn about the richness of our heritage in all its depth and breadth. In the Beit Midrash and Eshet Chayil curricula, they study the ritual, liturgy, tradition, and even the foods of our extended family’s history.
Carol Goodman Kaufman serves as the Hadassah National Co-Chair of Youth Aliyah.
Learn more about Hadassah-supported Youth Aliyah villages in Israel, which sets at-risk children in Israel on the path to a successful future.