'We are proud.' Painted plane
Photo: Taglit Birthright-Israel
Taglit-Birthright in Argentina marked its 10-year anniversary recently with a series of events, including the opening of an art exhibition inspired by Taglit at the Carla-Ray Gallery in Buenos Aires, which received honors from the city.
The event was attended by the Israeli ambassador to Argentina, Daniel Gazit, and the vice president of Taglit Marketing and Development, Prof. Ada Spitzer.
To celebrate its tenth anniversary, Taglit-Birthright Israel initiated a unique project in Argentina, combining social responsibility and art.
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A group of students from the ORT Jewish High School in Buenos Aires created models of aircraft made of wood. Dozens of leading Argentine artists, Jews and non-Jews, painted on the planes, their inspiration being "the desire to identify", as expressed on Taglit-Birthright Israel trips, which bring young Jews between the ages 18-26 to Israel, for a free ten-day educational trip.
The aircraft represent the trip to Israel and the participants' experience of discovering their identity that takes place during their stay in Israel. The exhibition has received the support of the Buenos Aires city government.
The painted aircraft project was awarded the Cultural prize for social entrepreneurship last Thursday, by the Ecumenical Social Forum in Buenos Aires. The prestigious prize acknowledges initiatives aimed at improving community life and encouraging community solidarity.
Painted aircraft project (Photo: Taglit)
During the ten years of its existence, Taglit has brought over a quarter million young Jews from around the world to Israel. To date, 10,000 young Jews from Argentina have participated in Taglit-Birthright Israel trips.
Prof. Ada Spitzer, commented on the award. "We are proud of the award, which reflects the innovative thinking that characterizes Taglit-Birthright Israel organization and its initiatives," she said.
The Jewish community in Argentina is facing a sharp rise in assimilation, estimated at about 70%, Taglit reported.
The organization cites studies saying that participation in the Taglit-Birthright Israel project significantly reduces the percentage of assimilation among its graduates.
In Argentina, Taglit receives about 4,000 applications each year from people who wish to participate in its trips to Israel, and around 1,000 are accepted.
"With the beginning of the second decade of Taglit-Birthright Israel, the clear and enormous challenge before us is to attract and increase the number of young Jews from around the world that take a trip to Israel with us," Professor Spitzer said.
"To do this, we are working diligently to raise funds among philanthropists in Jewish communities. We will see that the majority of young Jews in the world can come to get to know Israel and connect with their Jewish identity through our educational trip."
According to Taglit, since its establishment in the year 2000, 265,000 young Jews from more than 50 countries have participated in the free ten-day study tour of Israel. Of these 40,000 are young Israeli soldiers (many from elite units of the IDF) and students, who are integrated into each group that tours the country.
A US study published to mark a decade of the project, showed that a tour of the country has a long-term impact on the Jews of the Diaspora – on their Jewish identity, their connection to Israel and their ability to be active advocates for the State of Israel.
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