For college students looking to fuse adventure with meaning and purpose there are few options available. That all changed this summer when 99 JewishU students were given a chance of a lifetime, with exclusive summer experiences in North Africa and the Middle East.
For college students, summer is often associated with travel, summer jobs, summer classes, and internships. Yet, limited options are readily available for students looking to fuse action and adventure with meaning and purpose.
That all changed this summer when JewishU students were given a chance of a lifetime, with exclusive JewishU summer experiences in North Africa and the Middle East.
JewishU, Chabad on Campus International’s premier learning program, offers an accessible and engaging platform for a comprehensive Jewish education alongside students’ standard college education. Throughout the past year, over 3,000 students engaged in authentic Torah study through the program earning special JewishU credits along the way.
This summer, those credits came to good use. Participating students had the opportunity to use their hard-earned credits as a ticket for an all-inclusive trip to Dubai or Morocco.
“The impact JewishU is having on campus is truly remarkable,” said Rabbi Yossy Gordon, CEO of Chabad on Campus International. “With authentic Torah learning and thrilling overseas experiences, Jewish students are taking advantage of this unique opportunity to embrace their heritage and immerse themselves in the beauty and positivity of their Judaism.”
The 99 students who applied their credits to the Morocco trip were not disappointed, encountering a remarkable display of cultural dynamism while partaking in an empowering Jewish experience.
The sheer breadth of Jewish life in Morocco, spanning thousands of years, was apparent in visits to ancient Jewish quarters and magnificent synagogues. These powerful excursions attested to a heritage unbound by time, leaving the students with a unique appreciation of their Jewish identity. The Jewish pride was palpable.
The first word many tourists use when describing Morocco is culture. Rich with history and tradition, its multi-faceted culture, enmeshed within the fabric of its colorful marketplaces and fragrant cuisine, was on full display at every turn, further deepening the students’ appreciation of the continuity and reach of Jewish life.
Students had the opportunity to feel Chabad’s global impact as the local Shluchim warmly accommodated the visiting group. Rabbi Levi Banon, from Chabad of Casablanca, welcomed the students at the opening ceremony. Jewish community leaders, government officials, and even the local TV news station joined in welcoming the group as well. Rabbi Shimon and Rochel Lahiany of Chabad of Marrakech joined the students for a beautiful Shabbos lunch in the imperial city of Marrakesh.
Rabbi Avi Weinstein, COO of Chabad on Campus International, who participated in the trip, remarked, “Seeing firsthand so many students who dedicated themselves to learning throughout this year is truly remarkable. It’s a powerful testament to the incredible work and dedication of Shluchim and Shluchos on campus and the incredible success of our JewishU program.”
The trip also had its fair share of adventure and action, with students enjoying unique desert activities, such as camel riding and ATV tours through the secluded Agafay desert.
An unforgettable highlight took place at sunrise on Sunday morning, as hot air balloons lifted students thousands of feet into the air, exposing the wondrous expanse of the desert landscape. Showcasing their deep connection to Torah and Mitzvos, many students took the awe-inspiring opportunity to lay Tefillin and pray amongst the clouds.
The trip was led by Rabbi Yossi Witkes, Director of Trips, and staffed by a dynamic group of Shluchim and Shluchos, including Rabbi Zalman and Miriam Lipskier, Chabad of Emory, Rabbi Mendy and Sarah Alevsky, Chabad of Case Western Reserve University, and Rochel Chein, Chabad of Binghamton University. The program ran smoothly throughout, thanks to the intensive logistical support from Bentzi Sasson of Go Kosher Travel.
“The experience I had on this trip was amazing,” said Chaya Droznik from Columbia University. “I truly grew as a person. I met so many amazing people, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be on this trip.”