The Centre for Enhancement of Jewish Education (The Mercaz)
Helping Dreams Come True2008-05-29 10:43:05
Sara Cohen* dreamed day and night about a summer camp experience in Israel but she recognized that her single, working mother could never afford the full cost of the program. Sara knew that money was hard to come by, so she did what any teenager would do in her situation: she went online to look for funding opportunities.
Sara's research led her to UJA Federation of Greater Toronto's Centre for Enhancement of Jewish Education (The Mercaz) community scholarships. These scholarships are based on financial need, and are intended for the youth movement-styled Israel summer programs, as well as other short-term Israel education opportunities.
Since each scholarship application requires a personal statement, Sara set to work composing her request for funding for Michlelet - an Israel-based summer program for teenage girls that offers participants a greater appreciation of Torah, chesed and the land of Israel through learning sessions, chesed opportunities and tiyulim (trips).
Sara wanted her application to show how much the Michlelet program, with its wide range of classes in Halacha (Jewish law), Chumash (Bible), and Hashkafa (philosophy), would mean to her. Its focus on weekly opportunities for participants, including volunteering at a food bank and a hospital, being part of a camp for children who have been the victims of terror, and collecting clothing for the poor, would reinforce her religious day school's message of tikkun olam (Repairing the World). Sara gathered her thoughts, wrote them down on paper, and submitted her application.
"To Whom It May Concern:
I am looking forward to spending my summer at Michlelet. Spending 6 weeks in Israel will give me the chance to learn Hebrew and learn more about Judaism and what it means to be a Jew. I would also like to strengthen my connection with Israel. I hope to visit historical sites that will make everything I've learned in school come to life. Going to this camp will give me the opportunity to form lifelong friendships with girls from all over the world. I am hoping to try new things and go to new places. Being in Israel will help me feel united with all types of Jews and raise the level of my spirituality. Volunteering will give me an opportunity to give back to Israel. Being in such a spiritual place that is filled with miracles and history of miracles will give me a stronger connection to G-d. Overall a summer spent in Israel with Michlelet will be a life changing experience filled with memories."
Sara and her mother waited for several anxious weeks before receiving the good news from Daniel Fine of UJA Federation. The application had been approved!
With the help of this community scholarship, Sara is now eagerly anticipating a summer filled with learning and love in Eretz Yisrael.
Click here for more information about NCSY - National Conference of Synagogue Youth and select Summer Programs to learn more about Michlelet.
The Centre for Enhancement of Jewish Education (the Mercaz), (formerly the Board of Jewish Education), is the educational pillar of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
* Name changed to guard applicant confidentiality.