Y2i to increase students’ Israel experience

September 3, 2015 by J-Wire Staff
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The Y2i project goal is to take 375 Year 10 students from New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT  to Israel on a minimum five-week program annually.

The project aims to involve all Jewish Year 10 students throughout NSW, Y2IQLD and ACT in the project.

Next month an endowment  appeal will be launched to give the opportunity to the community to contribute to the funding of the Y2i project.

Every student who signs up for an approved study tour to Israel is eligible to receive a $5,000 voucher from Y2i. Those families who are not in need of financial assistance are encouraged to return the vouchers and the money will be used to help others in need of financial assistance. J-Wire understands that there are families in NSW, ACT and QLD unable to provide any funds for their child’s Israel experience.

Findings of the Gen08 Survey and the follow-up Touch Points Review highlighted a significant relationship between the development of a teenager’s Jewish identity and their participation in a structured Israel based educational program.

Y2i reports that over 500 Jewish children born every year in NSW, ACT and QLD. Today, less than 50% of these are enrolling in Jewish day schools.

Y2i chairman Jeremy Dunkel told J-Wire: “An organised Israel experience for teenagers with their peers in their high-school years is the greatest predictor of strong Jewish identity amongst young Jews who come from secular and less affiliated Jewish homes. Our mission is to make the Israel Experience an integral part of Jewish life for all Year 10 students at any school in NSW, ACT and Qld.”

In 2013, 91 Moriah and Masada Year 10 students went on IST, a 5-6 week program in Israel.

The NSW Board of Jewish Education sent 25 students from outside the Jewish day school system on Emet Israel – a similar program.

These programs cost approximately $9,000-$10,000 for airfares and land costs. For many years, generous donors have supported these initiatives to make Israel programs accessible to students from lower-income families with additional funding being supplied by the Jewish Agency.

In 2014, to test the assumption that cost is a significant barrier to greater adoption, Education Heritage committed to making $500,000 available through Y2i to provide 100 non-income tested vouchers of $5,000 for any prospective applicant.

50% of the vouchers were made available to students from outside the Jewish day school system. A Y2i spokesperson told J-Wire: “Middle class families are reluctant to ask for financial assistance and students from outside the Jewish Day Schools may also be reluctant given that they may know few other prospective participants.”

Additional finance support is available and is subject to a means test.

This resulted in 170 children joining programs in December 2014 a 50% increase over the preceding year. The most dramatic increase was from Emanuel School which sent its first group ever of 27 students.

Youth2Israel-400230 students will participate in the program  scheduled for the end of 2015

The activities in Israel are operated by Israel based organisations which specialise in delivering programs meeting pre-determined educational requirements.

Education heritage has again, given $5,000 vouchers available for 2015 as a further instalment of a total pledge of $5million.

It is envisaged that Y2i at maximum uptake will reach 375 students annually. To fund this would eventually require a corpus of $37million, the largest fund-raising ever undertaken in the NSW Jewish community. with donations fully tax-deductible.

Traditionally September-October is set aside every year for a JCA backed communal wide capital appeal. In 2015, this Appeal is to establish the Y2i endowment.

Y2i is backed not only by JCA, but by UIA and JNF as well as the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and ECAJ. All Jewish organisations, be they local or Israel focussed, recognise that without engendering a love for Judaism and Israel in our teenagers, we will not have a community in the future.

The content of the programs will be approved by The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies Education Committee.

The cost of the 5-6 week Israel Experience ~$10,000 incl air fares with about 50% of the cost being borne by Y2i through a universal $5,000 non-means tested voucher available to all Year 10 students

Additional funding may be available but would be subject to a means test.

Y2i was established in 2014 with a $5 million gift from Education Heritage Foundation, a 20-yr-old body whose directors include Jeremy Dunkel, Michael Dunkel, Richard Scheinberg, Gary Cohen, Peter Philippsohn and Peter Wertheim.

In its first year of operation Y2i allocated 100 $5,000 vouchers which resulted in 170 students participating, 60 more than the previous year and included 25 from Emanuel School involved for the first time.

This year the figure has increased to 230, including 50 from Emanuel, 37 from Masada and 30 from outside the Jewish Day Schools.

Y2i is planning to involve Jewish youth organisations, including Maccabi and Zionist youth groups and is hoping to involve students from the ACT and Queensland.

The Y2i Endowment Fund is a JCA Endowment Fund and JCA is responsible for managing the funds raised.

Donor representatives are Presidents or their nominees of five major communal organisations. Robert Goot (ECAJ) (chair), Stanley Roth (UIA), Alex Abulafia (JNF), Stephen Chipkin (JCA), Jeremy Spinak (NSW Jewish Board of Deputies).

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