Source: eJewish Philanthropy
This past year, my colleagues at YU CJF and I spent a lot of time reflecting on the successes and challenges that Yeshiva University’s Counterpoint Israel program has had since its establishment eight years ago. We commissioned Dr. Ezra Kopelowitz and his team at Research Success Technologies to conduct an intensive study of Counterpoint Israel between June 2012 and January 2013. We’d like to share some of the study’s findings and our reflections with you. We sincerely hope that being transparent about our successes and failures will help others grow as much as it has helped us.
Yeshiva University Counterpoint Israel
Counterpoint Israel is a five-week Jewish service-learning program run by Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future, during which YU Students travel to development towns in Southern Israel and run English summer camps for at-risk Israeli teenagers. The program highlights Israel-Diaspora education and aims to nurture and grow a strong sense of Jewish identity within its participants through meaningful and needed service work, leadership education and authentic and long lasting partnerships.
The Counterpoint Israel study demonstrates that partnership between Israeli and American Jews – between Yeshiva University’s Counterpoint program and Israeli municipalities – can benefit all involved. Counterpoint partners with municipalities in five cities and aims to benefit three parties: (1) Israeli at-risk teenagers, by helping them improve their English and develop strong personal relationships with American Jews. (2) Yeshiva University students, by allowing them to deepen their ties with Israel and exposing them to experience relevant to a career in education or communal service. (3) Israeli municipalities, by offering them a means of investing in enrichment programming for their youth.