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Campus Life 206: Travel Adventures for All Seasons

College Life Guide coverReady for a travel adventure? The URJ College Department offers international and U.S.-based programs. Answer these questions to figure out the best program(s) for you:

  1. How long do you want to be away? Programs vary in length: The KESHER Alternative Spring Break, one week; the Argentina Ambassadors program, ten days; The Taglit–Birthright Israel URJ KESHER Trip, ten days; Reform Semester in Israel, one semester; Tamarim—The Netzer Year, ten months.

  2. How far away do you want to be? You can stay on U.S. soil (the Gulf of Mexico coast) and perform tikkun olam as part of KESHER’s Alternative Spring Break program. If going abroad intrigues you, consider Argentina Ambassadors, The Taglit–Birthright Israel URJ KESHER Trip, Reform Semester in Israel, or Tama­rim—The Netzer Year in Israel.

  3. When do you want to go? KESHER’s Alternative Spring Break takes place in March; Argentina Ambassadors is late May–early June; Reform Semester in Israel is offered for the Spring semester (January–June); The Taglit-Birthright Israel URJ KESHER Trip runs in December and January as well as May, June, July, and August; and Tamarim—The Netzer Year runs from September to June.

  4. What do you hope to achieve—studying (for college credit), exploring a new land, or giving back to people who need help? While many Reform adventures incorporate two or all three components, these are the emphases:

Study: In Tamarim—The Netzer Year, a leadership-training program for recent high school graduates, you’ll participate in the Jerusalem Experience and the Kibbutz Experience, and get to choose an exciting Personal Experience—plus you’ll join all participants in group Shabbatot, hiking, sightseeing, and more. In the Reform Semester in Israel program, sophomores through seniors earn college credit for study at Hebrew University or the University of Haifa, go to community Shabbatot and seminars, travel throughout the country, and visit Spain.

Touring: In the Taglit-Birthright Israel URJ KESHER Trip, all participants—18–26-year-olds who have never been on an educational study program or organized peer group to Israel—explore ancient Jerusalem and modern Tel Aviv, climb Masada, swim in the Dead Sea, and more. In Argentina Ambassadors, you’ll tour historical sites, enjoy Shabbat with the Progressive Argentine community, take in Buenos Aires nightlife, and participate in a five-day intensive community-service project.

Service: In KESHER Alternative Spring Break, you’ll help gut and rebuild homes for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina; learn about mitzvah work; and experience the culture, food, and music of the South.

To learn more: KESHER Alternative Spring Break:; Argentina Ambassadors:; Taglit-Birthright Israel URJ KESHER Trip:; Tama­rim—The Netzer Year:; Reform Semester in Israel: For further assistance: , 212-650-4070, Happy travels!

—Hilary Oleon, Program Associate, URJ College Department


Union for Reform Judaism.