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What Jewish Teen Girls Are Doing Now

A surprising summer vacation

This past summer I embarked on a journey. When I started out, all I knew was that my journey was labeled a Jewish community .service trip around the country. In my house, we go to synagogue on the High Holy Days and I go to Hebrew high school, but that is about it. How was I going to get through six weeks worth of shabbats? I figured I’d learn . . .

So I went, and I loved every minute of it. We went to Maine, Colorado, Utah, and Georgia. I learned so much about Judaism, and everything around me, and even about myself—it was incredible. There were 38 of us (including adults)—a little more than half of us were girls—sharing this amazing learning experience. The Tiyul (the word means “trip” in Hebrew) was not a day in the park; it was hard work a lot of the time, both physically and emotionally. The trip was all about tikkum olam. The director, Sharon Goldman, who is also teen director at the 92nd Street Y in New York, said that just as we should do good for the world, we should also do good for ourselves. So we ate off reusable mess kits, not paper goods. We did everything from removing garbage from the basement of a synagogue, to creating a camp for underprivileged children, to doing work in state parks. Why Sharon Goldman can’t find as many boys as girls to go on such a trip is a mystery to me.