This winter break, KU Hillel will take 20 KU student leaders to Israel on the Israel Leadership Mission (ILM). ILM serves to provide students a deeper understanding of Israeli community as they work with local children and others in various community service projects in Ramla, while also going to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
In the weeks leading up to the trip, students have attended pre-trip sessions to discuss and learn more about the trip and what it means to each student. Hillel Executive Director Jay Lewis is one of the trip leaders, where he works to help students prepare for what they will encounter and gain experiences from it.
KU Hillel’s ILM is funded by the Israel and Overseas Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City. The students will meet with members of this committee before the trip to find out more about why the Federation helped fund the trip from the beginning.
At sessions students have also discussed issues in Israel today and learned about their leadership styles and what they hope to get from the trip. While in Israel, students will celebrate Shabbat in Jerusalem, teach local children English in Ramla, and do other activities together to engage in their Judaism and learn about religious diversity.
“Most importantly, these pre-trip sessions help the students understand the city of Ramla and the Jewish Federation’s special relationship with that city and its people,” Lewis said.
Senior Guya Tuval, one of the students going on ILM, said she’s been to Israel multiple times with family, but is excited to go and participate in something different than she’s used to in Israel. The pre-trip sessions have added to her excitement, as they have shown her more about her own relationship with Israel.
“I love the pre-trip sessions because it helps me get to know everyone that I will be in Israel with beforehand,” Tuval said. “I like that we talk about various issues in Israel and it makes me think more about how I view them. I’m excited to do my own thing this time [without my family].”
Students also met for a Shabbat dinner as their last pre-trip session to have a final night to talk about any last important details and celebrate before they embark on their trip.