Teens, parents look forward to enriching experience
By Claudia Hurst
The Dallas–Fort Worth airport was filled with feelings of excitement and anticipation on Monday, June 26, as the Dallas Israel Teen Tour departed for their three-week trip to Israel.
Before their departure, parents and Teen Tour participants gathered outside security for staff introductions and prayers for the travels ahead. Rabbi Michael Lewis, from Temple Emanu-El, led the group in Tefillat Haderech (the traveler’s prayer).
The Dallas Israel Teen Tour is organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. This trip was a longstanding tradition in the Jewish community until it was discontinued 20 years ago due to a security risk. Sherry Goldberg, vice chair of the board of directors, restarted the program. Last year marked the reboot of the Teen Tour.
This trip is supported by funding from RootOne, an organization that provides scholarships to Israel trip providers. Bernie Marcus, generous contributor to RootOne, wants kids to see Israel before they attend college. “Bernie believes that students need to know their heritage and who they are so they can be a proud Jew wherever they go next,” Goldberg explained.
While speaking with parents and teens at the airport, an overwhelming number of individuals shared this feeling with Marcus and are appreciative that the Dallas Israel Teen Tour will provide them, and their children, with the opportunity to see Israel for the first time.
“I have never been [there] before,” said Lexi Silverman, Teen Tour participant. “I am not sure what to expect, but I am excited to experience all of it.”
Other parents shared their excitement for their children to meet new people, “I want [my son] to bond with other kids in the Jewish community and I am glad he will have the chance to do that on this trip,” Emily Feldman, mother of a Teen Tour participant, said.
From sandboarding in the Negev Desert to exploring Tel Aviv, hiking to the summit of Masada and joining Israeli soldiers for a Shabbat dinner — the teens will explore every experience that Israel has to offer.
Back in Terminal D, the teens gave their parents one more hug and filed through the winding line of security before embarking on their Israeli adventure.