There are some things that neither words nor pictures can fully and adequately illustrate or portray.
Take, for example, standing on the top of Masada and watching the sun rise above the Dead Sea; or seeing and experiencing Jerusalem for the first time in your life… or taking part in a group debate on life and death decisions around a bonfire in the middle of the Negev… or the feeling of making a difference in the lives of 500 families by becoming part of the support chain that provides them food for a week.
Or imagine visiting some of the most historical Jewish synagogues on the continent, and seeing the oldest Torah scrolls in the United States… or running wild around New York City for the first time… or sitting down and listening to the life stories of a homeless person in a park in Washington DC… or running a summer camp for underprivileged kids in Savannah, all of whom are from broken homes and difficult backgrounds.
For the participants of JTAG Fellows 2015, there was no ‘or’. The intense month long schedule had 27 teenagers from Israel and the United States doing everything above, and much more. The program challenged the teens to look at their own Jewish identities, the connection between Israel and their own Jewish communities, and what leadership and tikkun olam roles they play in the big wide world around them.
Just one month later in their lives, and words fall short in trying to describe the process that the teens of JTAG Fellows 2015 went through this summer. We saw teens grow into their own, discover how far they can push themselves, and then go even further. They discovered new sides to Judaism that they never knew existed, and found new fields of interest and study to pursue. They took on responsibilities that they thought were way above their level, and found willing partners in a joint Jewish future.
No matter their path, no matter their geographic location, after one month together they know more about each others lives than ever before, and their futures are now inseparable. There are those who will be serving in Israel’s Defense Forces, and those who will soon be studying on campuses across Israel… and now they understand that they will be dependent on each other to succeed together.
To see and read more about the JTAG Fellows program, visit the 2015 Photo Blog