Colorado University Students Volunteer in Israel on Alternative Break
Students on the Jewish National Fund-USA “Alternative Break” trip to Israel

Colorado University Students Volunteer in Israel on Alternative Break

When you ask college students about their summer plans, many will tell you about their internships or jobs, extra classes they’re taking, or even a nice vacation they have scheduled. However, despite the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, University of Colorado-Boulder attendees joined a group of nearly 100 college students from around the country recently spent part of their summer volunteering in Israel on Jewish National Fund-USA’s Alternative Break, where they supported families affected by the October 7 terrorist attacks while ensuring that the land and people of Israel could strive towards a brighter future.

During the weeklong trip, students traveled all throughout Israel — repairing houses damaged by missiles, beautifying and rebuilding communities in Israel’s south, working on farms in the Negev Desert, and making food packages for Israeli soldiers and civilians affected by the war. No matter where they went, the students left knowing they had made the area a better place.

Participants also got a firsthand look at the heartbreak and resilience Israelis have experienced since the onset of the war through this immersive educational program. The students visited Hostages Square in Tel Aviv and spoke with family members of hostages who shared personal stories of their loved ones who were captured by Hamas. They attended a memorial ceremony at the site of the Nova Music Festival massacre. They also went to Soroka Hospital and learned how the facility handled the influx of wounded patients post-October 7.

Even through the heartbreak, the spirit of Israel shone through. “I’ve been to Israel many times over the last couple of years, and I think this is the most alive the country has ever felt, which is surprising given the incredible amount of adversity and hardship this community has endured,” said University of Colorado student Jake Stone in an interview with ILTV. “If there’s ever a time to come to Israel and help, it’s now.”

In a few months, and for some even sooner, the students will return to their college campuses, an environment that has become increasingly hostile towards Jewish and pro-Israel students. However, thanks to Alternative Break, they feel more prepared to engage in dialogue about Israel and stand up to Jew hatred.

College students participating in the “Alternative Break” program take a break from food packing during their Israel trip.

“I am deeply grateful to Jewish National Fund-USA for making this experience possible,” said Stone. “Their support and organization allowed me to connect with and give back to those who have sacrificed so much after October 7. The opportunity to participate in such meaningful activities has been gratifying and enriching, and I am thankful for their dedication to creating these impactful experiences.”

As the largest provider of Zionist education, Jewish National Fund-USA offers a plethora of programming and tools for college students, from educational trips to Israel and bringing speakers to campuses, to the new College Campus Resources page to help students report antisemitism on their campus. Students are also invited to the organization’s College Summit this November at the Global Conference for Israel (jnf.org/gc).

To learn more or to join a volunteer mission in Israel, visit jnf.org/volunteeril.

About Stefan Oberman

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