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University of Colorado Students Volunteer in Israel on Alternative Break – Boulder Jewish News

When you ask college students about their summer plans, many of them will tell you about their internships or jobs, the extracurriculars they’re taking, and even the fun vacations they’ve planned. But despite Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas, the University of Colorado-Boulder students joined nearly 100 college students from across the country who recently spent part of their summer volunteering in Israel as part of the Jewish National Fund-USA’s Alternative Break, where they supported families affected by the October 7 terrorist attacks while ensuring that the land and people of Israel can strive for a better future.

During the week-long trip, the students traveled throughout Israel—repairing homes damaged by shells, beautifying and rebuilding communities in southern Israel, working on farms in the Negev, and preparing food packages for Israeli soldiers and civilians affected by the war. No matter where they went, the students left knowing they had made the area a better place.

Participants also saw first-hand the desperation and resilience that Israelis have experienced since the beginning of the war through this immersive educational program. Students visited Hostage Square in Tel Aviv and spoke with family members of hostages who shared personal stories of their loved ones who were captured by Hamas. They attended a memorial ceremony at the site of the Nova Music Festival massacre. They also visited Soroka Hospital and learned how the facility coped with the influx of wounded patients after October 7.

Even in the face of heartbreak, the spirit of Israel shone through. “I’ve been to Israel many times over the last few years, and I think it’s the most alive I’ve ever felt the country, which is surprising given the incredible amount of adversity and hardship this community has endured,” Jake Stone, a University of Colorado student, told ILTV. “If there was ever a time to come to Israel and help, it’s now.”

In a few months, and for some even sooner, students will return to their campuses to an environment that has become increasingly hostile toward Jewish and pro-Israel students. But thanks to Alternative Break, they feel more prepared to dialogue about Israel and confront anti-Jewish hatred.

Students participating in the Alternative Break program take a break from packing food during their trip to Israel.

“I am deeply grateful to the Jewish National Fund-USA for making this experience possible,” Stone said. “Their support and organization allowed me to connect with and give back to those who sacrificed so much since October 7. It was rewarding and enriching to be a part of such a meaningful effort, and I am grateful for their dedication in creating these meaningful experiences.”

As the largest provider of Zionist education, the Jewish National Fund-USA offers a host of programs and tools for college students, from educational trips to Israel and guest speakers on campuses to a new College Campus Resources site that helps students report anti-Semitism on their campuses. Students are also invited to the organization’s College Summit in November during the Global Conference for Israel (jnf.org/gc).

To learn more or join the volunteer mission in Israel, visit jnf.org/volunteeril.