While it may not be typical for two Jewish girls from the Northeast to become best friends in Morocco, that’s our story.

We traveled to Morocco with JDC Entwine—the young adult engagement platform of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee—in May 2017, along with 16 other young adults from across the U.S., Israel, and Canada. Together, we learned about the impact of JDC’s work in Morocco over the decades and witnessed co-existence between Moroccan Jews and their Arab neighbors. As the world’s largest Jewish humanitarian organization, JDC was founded in 1914 and operates in 70 countries today. The Joint’s work in Morocco is just a slice of the aid JDC provides to Jews and Jewish communities in need, as well as relief to address crises and natural disasters.

We recently took on volunteer positions through JDC Entwine’s new Community Representative initiative. As Community Representatives working in partnership with other Entwine Boston-area alumni, we will serve as a resource for the local community to find out about volunteer and travel opportunities, learn about the global Jewish community and connect with other Entwine alumni through fun (we promise!) social events. 

Driven by a desire to imbue her travels with a historical lens, Sophie’s experience on Entwine in Morocco was life-changing. Prior to this experience, Sophie had an idea of the deep ties JDC had to experiences shared by her grandparents and family friends. Her grandparents made lifelong Argentinian friends, Mario and Julia, on a JDC trip after Argentina’s economic collapse in 2001, where the organization took a lead role in helping the Jewish community bounce back. When Sophie met them while studying abroad in Argentina, she saw firsthand the way JDC inspires international friendships and connections to Jewish communities across the globe. Thanks to this experience, and other formative travel experiences, she is passionate about Jewish continuity and devoting time and energy to reimagining Jewish community. Sophie now has her own relationship to JDC, its work, its dedicated staff, and what it means to experience Jewish life in an unlikely context.

Joan first volunteered with Entwine in Latvia and Estonia as part of an NYU undergraduate social service trip. As someone who simply enjoys travel, she had zero familiarity with JDC before her trip. In the Baltics, she loved meeting young Jews revitalizing the post-Soviet Jewish landscape and learning more about the area her great-grandfather left at age 14. After her first trip to the Baltics, Joan continued to volunteer with the organization in New York, Israel, and Morocco. On the Inside Israel trip, Joan helped through Entwine’s first global giving circle fund a program providing adults with disabilities in Beersheba with transportation—part of a larger JDC partnership for Israelis with disabilities, called Israel Unlimited, with Boston’s Ruderman Family Foundation and Government of Israel—and spearheaded another fundraiser for a program in Ramle serving Ethiopian-Israel preschoolers.

While in Morocco, we felt the power of arevut, collective responsibility, for one another as Jews. Our Entwine experience brought greater meaning to our lives as young urban Jews in the diaspora. The organization has a myriad of trip opportunities, all of which have had tremendous impact on past alumni. This year, opportunities exist to travel to locations such as the Philippines, Morocco, Cuba, Sri Lanka, and more! Please reach out to us if you are interested in learning more or are a local Entwine alumni looking to reconnect and become involved locally. And you can see the full list of 2018 Entwine Insider Trips at jdcentwine.org/trips.

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