This year, for the second time, Milken’s Tiferet delegates will complete the three-year Tiferet program. After March of the Living, the delegates will remain in Israel from April 18 to April 30.
“My goal is for the kids to really deepen their connection to Israel,” Rabbi Liat Yardeni-Funk, Director of Israel Programs, said.
While sophomores, Tiferet delegates spend sixteen weeks in Israel, immersing themselves in Israeli culture. As juniors, students continue to study advocacy work, with instructional speakers brought to Milken. Since Tiferet is a three-year track, only Tiferet students are allowed to attend the senior component.
“The 12th grade is a gift after the students had devoted themselves for 10th and 11th, and it focuses on and is based on the knowledge that they got in 10th grade. It’s not just a trip, it is an educational experience that is launching ambassadors for Israel on college campuses,” Yardeni-Funk said.
While in Israel students spend the majority of their time on group trips, which include hiking, food, and water park visits. Each student also chooses two tracts, each of which spans two days. The tracts options are political, archeological, high tech, culture and outdoor adventure.
“We created a curriculum that is tailor made for each one’s passions and love. In the end people will have a deepened relationship to that which they love already,” Yardeni-Funk said.
The Tiferet program is currently growing rapidly, with 79 applicants for the 2013 study abroad compared to the 39 applicants in the initial year. Yardeni-Funk hopes the program will maintain the trend of increasing enrollment.
“It has been much more successful than even my wildest dreams,” Yardeni-Funk said.