Teens Experience a ‘New Side of Judaism’ on Project Impact

Posted on March 11, 2024

A group of Minneapolis JSU teens spent their Presidents Day break giving back on a relief-mission-style trip to Chicago.

“Project Impact” gave Minneapolis teens the chance to volunteer with their Chicago peers at a wide range of local Jewish organizations, including a food pantry and soup kitchen. They also learned more about how Chicago Jews are helping each other across the community.

Sophia Moldo (l.), a sophomore at Hopkins High School, says the highlight of the trip was “being able to experience a side of Judaism that I never had been involved with before.”

“I also like knowing that I was helping people in need,” she says.

The trip also featured a meaningful Shabbat experience, with educational sessions focusing on combating antisemitism while strengthening one’s Jewish identity and connection at the same time.

Sophia adds that she appreciated the trip’s focus on antisemitism and “feels better” about how to deal with it.

“It was helpful to discuss as a group about it and hear different perspectives,” she says.

For Dahlia Herman (c.), a junior at School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley, the trip highlight was “being able to see the impact we were making… and see[ing] how many organizations are serving the Jewish people.”

Dahlia, whose school does not have a large Jewish population, says the program also gave her a “better perspective” on antisemitism, and why it’s happening to her now and how she can “internally approach it.”

“I [now] have a more thoughtful perspective on Jewish identity and being a proud Jew,” she says. “And it makes me observe what’s happening in the world right now through a new lens.”