The SKA JUMP team successfully ran its first event of the year. Organized as a component of NCSY, JUMP (Jewish Unity Mentoring Program) is a teen leadership training program that focuses on teaching Jewish high school students leadership skills, thereby empowering them to help create positive changes in their schools and communities.
The event began with the SKA JUMP team hosting the Ariel Dance Troupe in Lawrence for Shabbos. The troupe, led by Dora and Masha Litvak and consisting of ten Israeli dancers who attend a secular high school in Ariel, Israel, recently arrived in the United States to begin its first international tour to raise awareness of both Ariel and Israeli culture.
The SKA JUMP team reached out to the troupe and offered to host them for a spiritually uplifting Shabbos. The troop’s members had the opportunity to experience Shabbos, while they enhanced the day for the JUMP team with their enthusiasm and interest.
As one of the dancers washed n’tilat yadayim, she exclaimed, “I’ve never felt so connected to G-d. Just saying the bracha made me feel so close to Him.”
The JUMP members remarked that they had come to realize how much they took for granted in their daily lives and how lucky they were to be a part of an orthodox community.
After the inspirational Shabbos, the JUMP team held its first community wide-event, Israel Culture Night, which focused on reaching out to the community and teaching the importance of advocating for Israel while also highlighting its unique culture.
The night began with an incredible Israeli cooking demonstration by Aussie Gourmet Naomi Nachman. She delighted the crowd as the intricacies of making chumus.
After an Israeli meal of falafel and pita donated by Shula’s Pizza Store and Israeli salad donated by Qcumbers, participants heard from the vice president of One Israel Fund, Scott Feldman. Mr. Feldman, known for being a thought provoking speaker, showed a moving video and taught the crowd about the most effective ways to advocate for Israel. Attendees of the event received an informative booklet with 25 commonly asked questions on lobbying for Israel.
To end the night, the Ariel Dance Troupe wowed everyone as they performed four expressive dances that told the story of Israeli pioneering and creative spirit. The event was a huge success and the JUMP team looks forward to more exciting programs in the near future.