An unexpected experience on a summer program in Israel showed me that no matter how different people are, unification is possible. 

Big-league learning, on and off the court, in an Israel summer program.

A writer finds connections with a variety of Jewish teens in the Genesis program at Brandeis University. 

Jewish and Bedouin teens connect over homemade pita and cold Coca-Cola. 

Gadna Group Five surrounds their mifakedet.

A week of grueling army training inspires a lifetime of appreciation for soldiers in Israel. 

‘You grab her arms and I’ll grab her legs and together we’ll lower her into the pool.” This sounds pretty scary to an average person, but for Batzi these words were music to her ears. As Dolma and I carefully lowered Batzi into the pool, Batzi smiled as she touched the water. While supporting Batzi under her back as she laid on the water I spoke to her, asking her if she liked the water and if she was having fun. I didn’t expect a reply and didn’t get one. Now and then Batzi let out a light giggle to show that she was enjoying the experience.

Ihave an iPod video,” said Eli.

“That’s cool. What movies do you have on it?” my friend asked. 

Eli then opened up his dictionary and corrected himself. His question was, “Do you have an iPod video?”

In spite of language limitations, cultural differences and being out of my comfort zone, I managed to survive camp this summer.