Members of Atidim, Israel Cadets for Public Service, will travel to Philadelphia July 30 through Aug. 6 to tour historic sites; meet with legislative, arts and cultural leaders; and learn more about the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community. Federation's Center for Israel and Overseas will play host to the 11 students and staff chaperones who are participating in this unique leadership-training program.
Atidim offers students ages 23 to 30 who live in underprivileged, periphery communities an opportunity to pursue a higher education and share in Israel's growth. The program is highly competitive. Participants come from disadvantaged backgrounds, but demonstrate personal and academic potential, as well as leadership abilities. All have completed their military-service requirements.
The cadets earn their bachelor's degree in diverse fields such as law, economics and accounting, in addition to undertaking a special academic program in the School of Public Policy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. During their studies, they serve as interns in the public sector.
To help them reach their potential, cadets receive a tuition scholarship, boarding expenses, a living stipend, a laptop computer and personal tutoring from key figures in the Israeli public service. Each summer, the students travel to the United States to learn about the American public-service system, live in a Jewish community and gain some valuable work experience.
Upon graduation, cadets commit to working a minimum of five years in the Israeli public sector.
Joan Stern, co-chair of Federation's Center for Israel and Overseas, is enthusiastic about the group's Philadelphia visit, and promises that they will enjoy a full and varied agenda. They plan to meet with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Zack Stalberg, president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, a nonprofit organization that fights for effective government, fair elections and a well-informed citizenry in Greater Philadelphia; Jane Golden, director of the the city's Mural Arts Program; a representative from the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams; rabbis representing several streams of Judaism; and leaders of Federation and other Jewish communal organizations.
Also on tap are shopping excursions, visits to museums, barbecues and special Shabbat home hospitality.
For more information about Atidim and other programs supported by Federation's Center for Israel and Overseas, visit: www.jewishphilly.org .