Tackling Tikkun Olam: OSL Introduces New Intersession Trips

By: Molly Meisels  |  October 16, 2018

By Molly Meisels, Junior News Editor

The YU Office of Student Life recently announced its three winter break student trips; this year, students can travel to Israel, California, and Thailand with YU. “We try to provide various opportunities for students over their student break experience; chances to volunteer, chances to gain valuable workplace experience, and chances to meet other students,” commented Talia Molotsky, Assistant Director of Student Life. Each year, the Office of Student Life works tirelessly to plan educational and transformative winter break trips during YU’s January intersession.  This year, the OSL team has gone above and beyond to provide the student body with opportunities to learn about their future career paths, giving them the chance to partake in the YU mission of tikkun olam (repairing the world). “I think it’s amazing that they are offering trips like these … because it’s important to see other places in the world and how other people live,” says Kayla Plutzer, SCW ‘19, about the trips.

Israel Hi-Tech Winter Trip

According to Molotsky, this trip is ideal for students considering entering the fields of tech and computer science, and will allow students to discover future internship opportunities. The time spent in Israel will revolve around Israel’s start-up culture, in a country on the forefront of technological advances in agritech, geology, and biotech. Molotsky says last year’s Israel trip was a success, prompting OSL to increase this year’s program from 12 students to 20 students. Last year’s trip inspired many students, including Tali Greenberg, SCW ‘19. Greenberg says, “The trip was both empowering and practical. Each speaker encouraged us to do great things with our careers and gave us the tips to do so. It also gave me confidence that I could have a career in Israel, which I hope to have one day.”

The cost of the trip is $800 (including airfare) and will run from January 13th-20th (including travel days). While all the flights are included in the cost of the trip, last year the flights were via Moscow, causing many students to change their flights and pay the difference.

Coast-to-Coast California Business Mission

Molotsky states that Yeshiva University runs a mission of this sort every year “for students wishing to stay within the country and do something meaningful and educational over their winter vacation.” OSL took students to the Midwest last winter break to teach them about building Jewish communities across the country. This year, the trip will be concentrating on the lucrative businesses of the United States. Students will be visiting Silicon Valley, and exploring San Francisco and Los Angeles. They will also have the opportunity to spend two Shabbatim in the local Jewish communities.  

The cost of the trip is $500 (including airfare) and will run from January 11th-20th (including travel days).

Thailand Winter Mission

For the first time ever, Yeshiva University will partner with Justifi, a Jewish non-profit travel organization, to provide this phenomenal opportunity to students of our school. According to Justifi’s mission statement, they are a “new social activism program connecting Jewish students and young professionals who want to make a difference to circumstances, people, and places where they can.” Justifi coordinates trips to South Africa, Nicaragua, Peru, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. Molotsky is especially looking forward to this trip, and says, “Students will also get the opportunity to explore Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai, all through a Torah lens with Torah educators and a program that caters to the needs of Yeshiva University students.” The mission will explore the pressing issue of human trafficking in the region, allowing students to meet with non-profit organizations that are on the forefront of Thai humanitarian aid work. Ashley Solomon, Syms ‘19, is impressed by the initiative taken by YU in regard to the new Thailand trip. She says, “While there have always been trips geared towards technology or business, I think it’s fundamental that YU offers a trip on social justice and humanitarian aid. This trip seems like a fantastic opportunity to expose YU students to foreign cultures and major world issues.”

The price for the YU trip is $2,100, including airfare. Justifi’s usual price is $1,849 + airfare, which can range from $650-$1,000 (some $450 roundtrip flights were found). The trip will be taking place from January 15th-24th.

For more information about these trips, please email Talia Molotsky at talia.molotsky@yu.edu.