Bradley Walter with Eliyahu, a student at the Jewish Agency Ben Yakir Youth Village.
August 10, 2010 / 30 Av 5770
The Rhode Island Hazon Mission visit to Israel gave its participants a chance to see up close the people behind the programs they have been supporting.
The group, made up of lay leaders from the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island, spent July 20, 2010, meeting participants of the Masa Israel WUJS Intern Tel Aviv program, and lone soldiers currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Later in the week, Leah Golan, Director General of the Israel Department at the Jewish Agency, briefed the group about the Jewish Agency's new strategic plan and Partnership 2000. On the last day of the group’s trip, they visited the Beit Alfa Absorption Center and the Ben Yakir Youth Village.
The stories of the lone soldiers who have chosen to make Israel their home were very inspiring to the group. They were also moved by their visits to the Jewish Agency's Beit Alfa Absorption Center, where residents immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia. While visiting, they learned about one of the center's recycling education program for youth. They also had an opportunity to play with children participating in the Yesodot (translation: Foundations) summer camp program. At the Jewish Agency's Ben Yakir Youth Village, the group met with staff, a counselor, and a number of youth living and studying at the village, one of whom, Eliyahu, is currently training in the hopes of someday competing in the Olympics in the area of track and field.
The Rhode Island Hazon mission poses for a group shot with lone soldiers
during a recent visit to Israel.
"It's one thing to read the stories or listen to the stories people bring back, but it's quite another thing to actually see first hand the impact the dollars we raise have on the lives of these young people. It just makes you want to do even more because very little money gives each one of these kids a chance to write a new chapter in their lives," said mission participant Susan Leach Deblasio. "Right now, we have a wonderful opportunity to make such a difference in their lives and the lives of the whole country."