During the winter break of January 2024, a group of students from Princeton joined Rav Azi and Atara Horvitch, the JLIC Directors at Princeton University on a transformative journey through Israel. This trip was not merely a sightseeing venture but a meaningful endeavor to witness firsthand the realities of life in Israel and extend a helping hand where possible.

students from Princeton joined Rav Azi and Atara Horvitch, the JLIC Directors at Princeton University on a transformative journey through Israel and volunteered on a farm to help out a farmer who is short staffed

Over the course of two days, the group immersed themselves in various activities, each designed to foster understanding, compassion, and solidarity. One such experience took them to the agricultural fields, where they worked for a family that had fled Sderot, a town frequently targeted by rocket attacks and whose workers left the country. Their willingness to pitch in and support those in need not only provided practical assistance but also served as a powerful demonstration of unity within the Jewish community.

Students from Princeton University joined Rav Azi and Atara Horvitch through Israel and held a BBQ at an IDF base

Another poignant moment came during their visit to an IDF base, where they organized a heartfelt barbecue for members of the IDF. This initiative, funded by contributions from the JLIC Princeton community, was a small token of appreciation for the sacrifices made by these brave individuals. The shared meal became a symbol of gratitude and solidarity, bridging the gap between civilians and those who safeguard our nation.

Rav Azi and Atara Horvitch with JLIC Princeton Students at an archeology site in Israel

The itinerary also included visits to historically significant sites, such as Tel Lakish, an archaeological site steeped in the rich history of the Kingdom of Judah. Here, amidst ancient ruins, the group gained a deeper appreciation for the enduring legacy of the Jewish people. However, it was their visit to “Kikar Hachatufim” or “Hostages Square” in Tel Aviv that left the most profound impact.

Hostage Square in Tel Aviv, Israel

At Hostages Square, they came face to face with families whose loved ones remain captive in Gaza. This encounter served as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by the Israeli people, as well as the resilience and unwavering spirit that defines them. Despite the physical and emotional distance, the bond between the visitors and the locals grew stronger, fueled by a shared sense of identity and purpose.

As the trip came to a close, one sentiment echoed resoundingly among the participants: a renewed sense of unity and belonging. Despite being separated by thousands of miles, their shared experiences had brought them closer together as members of the global Jewish community. The phrase “Am Yisrael Chai”  encapsulates not just a statement of fact but a testament to the enduring strength and resilience of the Jewish people united in faith, history, and destiny.


Reach out to any of our Directors to learn more about JLIC and our programming.

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