Young Leaders from the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles mingle with high school students from Net@, a Jewish Agency supported program that teaches young people technology skills.
November 19, 2009 / 2 Kislev 5770
They met face to face. The group of Young Leaders from The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and the Israeli high school students who participate in the after-school technology program, Net@, gathered one evening at an elementary school in Jerusalem to learn from one another.
"It's very powerful," said Shawn Gabbaie, one of the 24 LA participants from the Young Leadership Development Institute's Real Estate and Construction mission who recently toured throughout Israel, visiting sites funded by the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Agency.
The Net@ group was a case in point. Funded in part by the Jewish Agency, it is a program that helps high school students from Israel's periphery learn hands-on experience in technology that will give them a career and serve them throughout their lives.
"Our goal is to change the course of life for young people on the periphery of Israel," Channa Calif of the Jewish Agency told the visitors from LA before they broke into small groups to interact with the students.
Founded in 2003, Net@ currently services 2,000 students in 19 locations throughout Israel. The program brings together students from different neighborhoods, religions and cultural backgrounds who form a tight-knit community because they meet regularly over the course of three years. And Net@ continues to offer support even after the students graduate from high school. Many go on to serve in the technology unit of the IDF.
For 15-year-old Mor Naim from Gilo, the skills she learns from Net@ are a stepping stone to a better life. "Everything is for my future," she said.
And for LA participant Gabbaie, seeing how technology betters the lives of so many Israelis is inspiring.
"In Sderot, we saw how during the war when the children couldn't go to school they were able to study at home and still interact with each other and with their teachers, even while all around them bombs were falling," he said.