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Young Judaea

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Judaism, Religion, Youth Development

Mission: Young Judaea is a Zionist youth movement that embraces the diversity of the Jewish people. *We inspire Jews to connect with their Jewish identity and to the Jewish people -- past, present and future. *We are committed to supporting the centrality of Israel in Jewish life. * We empower our participants to imagine and bring about positive change in Israel and the world at large. *We grow insightful, educated and creative leaders through powerful and life-changing experiences.

Results: Young Judaea alumni are disproportionately represented among the most committed and active American Jews. They can be found in positions of leadership in both the Jewish and general community, as nonprofit leaders, as innovative entrepreneurs, and as agents of social change.

Programs: Young judaea year course:in 1956, young judaea established its year course program. Year course is the largest gap year (year between high school and college) program for recent high school graduates. Over the course of nine months, year course participants immerse themselves in all aspects of israeli life and culture learning hebrew, interacting with their israeli peers, developing an appreciation for their jewish heritage and exploring israel through a variety of volunteer placements. The participants take college level courses, accredited through the american jewish university and volunteer in a variety of social service and community organizations. There are also many specialty tracks catering to participants' hobbies or interests. A few examples include sports, medical, arts, business, and activism. Also available are religious-centered tracks (shevet and shalem) and travel-intensive tracks (olami) as well as an opportunity for a small group to volunteer in a youth village in rwanda. Over the past 57 years thousands of north americans have participated in the program. Wujs israelwujs israel is a 5 month post college program that offers the ultimate israel experience for jewish young adults from around the world. The program is based in jerusalem and tel-aviv. Wujs israel allows participants the opportunity to intern with one of israel's leading companies or ngos, or develop an artistic talent, while studying hebrew and more. Wujs israel provides participants with tailor-made internships that are meant to enhance resumes and set them apart from other young people. Arts jerusalem gives participants the time and space to create and build their artistic portfolio and an opportunity to showcase final projects in an exhibition. Participants on arts tel aviv mix interning part of their week with independent work on their art. Participants learn the ins and outs of the business, educational artistic tools, and new developments in different art media. This combination allows participants to build their resumes and portfolios at the same time. Other features of the program include hebrew language study, accommodation in apartments, educational workshops and lectures as well as field trips around israel. Alternative winter breakalthough not one of our largest programs, alternative winter break (awb) is a week-long program that immerses participants in intensive community service and experiential learning. Established in 2007, over 300 teens between 14 and 18 have participated in awb. In each location, participants learn about problems faced by members of communities with whom they otherwise might have had little or no direct contact. Awb allows participants to learn and volunteer with local non-profit organizations, including food banks, homeless shelters, adult homes, community gardens and in the case of new orleans, private residences still needed repair from hurricane katrina. Until 2010, awb traveled to one location each year including la, new orleans, south florida and again to new orleans. In 2011, due to growing demand, young judaea added on an additional trip to the navajo nation, where the group focused on the cultural exchange and volunteered in a variety of organizations catering to the navajo people. In 2012, when hurricane sandy hit the northeast, teens, staff and parents alike felt it necessary to pull together a last minute trip and while a group still went to new orleans to continue our work there, another group was organized in staten island, the rockaways and brooklyn to help with the sandy cleanup efforts. In 2013, a group will again go to new orleans and another group will return to l. A. Summer programsyoung judaea summer programs offer judaeans and non-judaeans alike an opportunity to experience israel during summer break. Offered for ages 14 to 26, the range of summer program experiences is commensurate with the age group attending. Machon is a four week program specifically designed for teenagers who have enjoyed the young judaea experience. Campers and year round program participants alike are offered a trip specific to their upbringing in the movement they travel with their friends from camp and experience the sites and history they have already learned so much about. Yj discovery is the matching program for teens looking for a first-time judaean experience and i speak israel acts similarly while shifting the lens to israels politics current and historical. In addition to teen summer programs, young judaea offers amirim, a four week volunteer program putting 18-26 year olds into volunteer positions throughout the country.

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

Young Judaea is an amazing organization with so many wonderful opportunities and programs. My Zionist roots, commitment to Israel and passion for Judaism all stem from YJ. I hope to pass these beliefs forward to my children, as my father (a YJ alum) did to his. I can't wait until my kids are old enough for YJ summer camp and more!


Rating: 5

Our kids have been involved with Young Judea for years and have established friendships as well as leadership skills.


Rating: 5

I credit my strong Jewish identity and passion for Israel to Young Judaea.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Young Judaea had a huge impact on me and my family through its unique approach to Israel engagement, leadership development and teen empowerment. From local clubs to summer camp to capstone experiences (summer and gap year) in Israel it prepared me to make a meaningful difference in my community and in the world at large.