MORE THAN 200 teens from Greater Middlesex and Monmouth counties are expected to attend the first Israel Teen Summit at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18, at Rutgers Hillel, New Brunswick.
At the summit teens will experience Israel with their peers, but without the plane ticket. They will enjoy an Israeli shuk (marketplace) with food, photo ops, and free gifts from Israel, and a selection of activities and sessions about advocacy, sports, food, innovation, music, and more.
Keynote speaker is Chloe Valdary, director of Partnerships and a Shillman Fellow at Jerusalem U. She is a pro-Israel activist and a regular speaker at colleges and high schools across the U.S.
Following the opening session, teens will participate in discussions about Israel advocacy and lobbying led by AIPAC, StandWithUs, the Israeli-American Council, and more. The programming goal is for students to learn how to process and express their responses about Israel while dealing with anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activities in their schools.
The program is being planned by a committee of 19 teens, many of whom participated in educational trips to Israel this summer and received grants from federation to defray costs.
“I joined the Israel Teen Summit committee because Israel and all of its aspects are a part of who I am,” said Shelly Nezaria, a high school student from East Brunswick. “My love for Israel animates me and I’m so honored that I’ve been given the opportunity to share my passion for such a special and sacred place with other teens.”
A session for parents will be held at 1 p.m. The topic of the presentation and discussion will be helping your child deal with anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activities at school.
The summit is organized by the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey in partnership with synagogues, Jewish schools, and area youth groups — such as BBYO, USY, NCSY, and others.
The free program is open to students in grades six-12. It is sponsored by an endowment gift made to the Federation by the Laurence S. Weiss And Edith G. Weiss Foundation.
For information and registration, visit jewishheartnj.org/connect/connect-with-israel/israel-teen-summit.