Artza ’09 is coming!
Lisa Shkolnick
JCC Associate Executive Director

 What comes but once every three years, and has more Omaha Jewish teens excited about Israel than any other program? 
 The next community teen trip to Israel is going in the summer of 2009. “Artza ’09” as it is known, has the support of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Center Boards of Directors, and will continue the strong tradition of sending the most Omaha Jewish teens to Israel, with the most outstanding staff and educational and social programming found in the nation.
 All eligible Artza participants will receive a $2,000 subsidy toward the cost of the Artza trip; which includes the $1,000 Israel Experience Grant , plus an additional $1,000 Federation subsidy for all Artza participants whose families are members in good standing of the Jewish Federation of Omaha.
 Corey Kirshenbaum, CDC Director, is the 2009 Artza Director, and will be coordinating and leading the four- week trip to Israel, with up to 34 Artza students participating. He is no stranger to the Israel Experience, as he has been to Israel on three trips, and in 1996 was the Artza ’96 Director as well.

David Trubnikov, left, and Brandon Thomas leap over a sand dune in the Negev desert on the 2006 Artza trip to Israel.
 “In 1996 when I led the Artza trip, I was amazed at the unique perspective the teens had on Israel,” says Kirshenbaum. He says he is particularly excited to lead this trip in 2009, as he knows many of the teens in this age group.
 To be eligible for Artza ’09, Jewish students must be entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grades in the fall of 2009. (See “Look Who’s Eligible for ARTZA ’09” on page 15). This means current eighth, ninth, and 10th graders should begin to plan for the summer of 2009.

 A series of parent and teen information meetings will be held at the JCC and synagogues over the course of the next year, with opportunities to sign up and learn more about this Israel experience of a lifetime.
 Since the past two Artza trips, Artza ‘99 and ‘06, much has been developed in the Teen Trip to Israel Experience; the Omaha JCC staff looks forward to working in conjunction with the JCC Association’s Maccabi Israel Experience once again to plan and implement the third consecutive trip with them. The success of the past two Artza trips can be attributed to the leadership of both local Artza directors and chaperones, as well as the professionalism and hands-on details handled by the national JCC Association.
 The four-week Israel Experience is comprised of a balanced, exciting, challenging and

Among the highlights of Artza 2006 was a visit to the Old City of Jerusalem and a stop at the Western Wall for David Sukkienik, left, Scott Egermayer, David Trubnikov and Guy Weinstein.
exhilarating agenda to cover all aspects of the Israel experience, including (but not limited to) the following activities: hiking, snorkeling, rappelling, shopping on Ben Yehuda Street, camel rides, hiking Masada, and visiting holy, spiritual, and educational sites such as the Western Wall, Yad Vashem, Yitzhak Rabin’s Memorial, Hall of Independence, and other museums and historical sites. Cities and experiences on the tour include the resort town of Eilat, Jerusalem, the lime-light of Tel Aviv, Omaha’s Partnership with Israel city of Akko, and Haifa, just to name a few.
 Twenty-one students participated in Artza ‘06, and all had an amazing Israel experience. “Traveling to Israel with the other Omaha teens meant more to me during and after the trip than I anticipated,” said Amanda Bucher. “I feel like we had an edge over all the other teen trips circulating in Israel that summer. We really got to know the people in our group.”
Eating falafel: Jessica Danon, left, Talia Tene, one of the trip’s madrichim (counselors) -- Assaf Nachum -- and Sarah Spooner.
 Recruitment for Artza ’09 is now underway. For more information, contact Artza Director, Corey Kirshenbaum at 334.6415, or me at 334.6425. Applications for Artza chaperones are also being accepted now, and will be actively reviewed in January of 2009.