They participated in a JSU Relief Mission to New Orleans, sponsored in part by Springboard, a division of JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.
The teens repaired homes with Youth Rebuild, volunteered on an organic farm with Wwoof, and prepared and delivered meals to the homeless. They also spent a meaningful Shabbat together and learned about the Jewish values of chesed and tikkun olam.
Ashley Levin (r.), a sophomore at Deerfield High, said rebuilding a distressed home was her trip highlight.
“How it all came together was just incredible, and [it was] so satisfying to know that I contributed to someone’s life,” she says.
Andrew Kushnerov, a freshman at Buffalo Grove High School, says he came on the mission because he was looking for “more opportunities to help people.” He says his highlight was preparing meals for the homeless.
Andrew adds that he also enjoying the Jewish aspect of the trip.
“I feel like the trip also brought me closer to G-d as an individual from all the prayers we did,” he says.
Ashley shares a similar sentiment.
“I met amazing people and learned about Jewish traditions and loved being part of Jewish culture,” she says. “I also had my first Shabbat, which was very special and fun.”