The surge in violence between Israel and Hamas has caused one summer youth experience program to cancel its trip to the Jewish holy land.
Yad B’Yad was scheduled to spend four weeks touring Israel with roughly 70 teenagers and young adults. Group leaders made the decision that the trip was too dangerous on Saturday.
“Traditionally a lot of high school kids will go to Israel this summer on different touring programs and a lot of people haven’t been to Israel. It’s also just the Jewish homeland so a lot of people are really connected,” Yad B’Yad staff member Aliza Gottlieb said.
Instead, the group went on an impromptu tour of New England. They were briefly hosted by the Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford.
“It’s really upsetting that it’s happening but you have to look at the bigger picture and realize that there’s more important stuff to deal with over there. That our trip can happen anywhere really,” 11th grader Talia Levie said.
Yad B’Yad includes kids with and without special needs as part of its mission of “togetherness.” The message is for all people to be treated equally.
“It’s awesome. I mean, one minute you didn’t know them. The next minute you’re giving them a hug,” participant Yosef Strachman said.
The group will head to Stamford, Connecticut next before flying to the West Coast.