Teens Learn to Be Leaders on Israel

Teens Learn to Be Leaders on Israel

Eight high schoolers from metro Atlanta participated in a virtual workshop aimed at helping them become leaders in Israel education and advocacy. 

Eight high schoolers from metro Atlanta participated in the Center for Israel Education’s annual fall Teen Israel Leadership Institute, which was held virtually for the first time because of COVID-19.

As happened with CIE’s annual Educator Enrichment Workshop on Modern Israel during the summer, the move to an online event instead of a physical gathering in Atlanta enabled the center to engage more learners than ever.

That success in remote learning has led to plans for additional teen educational opportunities in 2021. Applications are being accepted until Jan. 21 for the next TILI, to be held virtually on consecutive Sundays, Feb. 7 and 14, from 1 to 4 p.m.

What can February participants expect? In November, CIE Teen Program Manager Michele Freesman said, “teens created new contacts and shared a wide variety of perspectives, making the discussions more varied for everyone.”

Forty-one 10th- to 12th-graders — a 28 percent increase from the December 2019 TILI — from 11 states, Mexico, Paraguay, Panama and England gathered through Zoom for three hours of learning on two consecutive Sundays. They covered topics ranging from the history of Zionism and the prospects for peace in the 21st century to lessons in Israeli leadership, media coverage of Israel and Israeli politics through music.

“They were very engaged and really proved that they were excited to learn,” Freesman said.

One of the teens’ favorite sessions was an optional Israeli trivia game that helped students from such places as Latin America, California, New York and Europe get to know one another. And despite missing out on a weekend at Emory University, the teens engaged with Emory undergraduates in a robust discussion of campus life.

“It was an amazing opportunity to enhance my knowledge about Israel, compare perspectives and experiences from people from all over the world, empowering us with the history, values and aspirations of our people,” said one participant, Gary from Paraguay.

The sessions included group work as the teens strategized how to present what they learned to their own communities. Freesman said she hopes to increase the level of collaboration at the 2021 teen workshops.

“Participating in CIE’s TILI was an amazing experience,” said Joelle, a November participant from New York. “The presenters were engaging and knowledgeable, and I learned a ton of information on many different topics! It was also a great opportunity to connect with other students who are passionate about Israel education and Jewish history.”

High school students interested in the February TILI should visit israeled.org/teens to find more details and to apply. Thanks to generous donors, CIE is waiving the $54 registration fee this one time.

For additional information, contact Freesman at michele.freesman@israeled.org.

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