Students, donors, and staff celebrated Greater MetroWest’s partnership with the Write On For Israel teen advocacy program at the Aidekman Jewish campus in Whippany April 10.
The event featured a panel discussion with student participants in the program, which includes seminars on Israel and an eight-day trip to the country, and an address by Gary Rosenblatt, who founded the program as editor and publisher of New York’s Jewish Week newspaper.
The Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, which administers the program along with the its Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life, also thanked the donors who support WOFI.
The CRC launched a partnership with the New York-based program in 2011, the first federation to do so.
“No other community came to us and asked us for a seat at this table,” said Linda Scherzer, director of Write On For Israel. “You’re very unique.”
In his remarks, Rosenblatt said the program was necessary to create a cadre of informed pro-Israel advocates, even for teens who are receiving regular Jewish education.
“Some of our very finest Jewish schools don’t teach modern Zionist history,” he said.
Before joining the program, said Jonas Singer, a senior at Millburn High School, “all I knew was that there are a lot of explosions in Israel.” The program helped him understand “what it really is, and not what the media say it is.”
Among the donors honored at the event were the Iris Family and the Herb Iris Youth and Family Philanthropy Endowment, the Klinghoffer family, the Cooperman Fund for a Jewish Future, Charles and Barbara Hirsh, the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ, Michael Simon, Peter Feinberg, Amy Holtz, Howard Tepper, and Archie Gottesman and Gary DeBode.
The 2013 cohort of students included Abby Aaron, Carmelle Bargad, Gabrielle Beackon, Lilli DeBode, Galit Greenberg, Emily Kamen, Scott Myers, Zach Ramsfelder, Gabrielle Roth, Singer, and Jay Zaifman.
The 2014 cohort included Harrison Angoff, Ariel Arzt, Lily Blumkin, Kineret Brokman, Sophie DeBode, Kaila Fleisig, Noah Lisser, Arielle Mann, and Nick Sarano.
Write On For Israel is accepting registration for students who will be Juniors next year; go to jfedgmw.org/wofi.