It’s just 24 hours until departure for our adventure of a lifetime in Israel, and I want to share my excitement with you! It’s been 10 months since the first informational meeting for 2017 Y2I, which has grown into an impressive group of 109 Jewish teens from 28 communities and 38 high schools. Lappin Foundation’s Youth to Israel Adventure (Y2I) is the envy of every Jewish community in the country.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to the Lappin Family, Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and more than 900 donors to the Foundation’s Annual Campaign for making this extraordinary Israel experience possible. 2017 Y2I is truly the gift of a lifetime for our youth.

I am giddy with excitement about 2017 Y2I! Including my own 1973 Y2I trip, this will be my 23rd trip to Israel. I am looking as forward to 2017 Y2I as I was to my own in ‘73 and to every Israel trip in between. Israel never gets old. It’s comforting to know that some things don’t change, and at the same time, it’s exhilarating to experience what’s familiar with a whole new group of teens.


Y2I continues to work its magic on Jewish teens. What was true about Y2I in 1971 (called LGI—Let’s Go Israel—at that time), holds true for Y2I today. There is nothing better to enhance a Jewish teen’s Jewish identity and to build Jewish pride than an Israel experience. Sharing Israel with peers from their community makes the experience even more powerful and meaningful.

Often referred to as a rite of passage, Y2I is actually an experience of biblical proportions. You can literally open a bible to the Book of Genesis, Chapter 12, verse one, and read God’s instructions: “Go from your land, from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.” Y2I is the extension of the biblical mandate to go forward to the land. What is so exciting about Y2I is what comes next in verse two: “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”

Israel is the manifestation of the greatness that is our legacy, one that has stood the test of time. During their two-week Y2I adventure, teens will discover the blessings of Israel and the Jewish People, and what it means to be “light unto the nations.” What is created, discovered and invented in Israel is shared with the world; innovations that make life better for people the world over. Though we are small in numbers (an estimated 13-14 million world-wide) and size, we are a great and unique Family.

From all the sites we will visit and all the people we will meet, Y2I teens will see for themselves what Israel means to our People, and they will gain an understanding and appreciation of what Israel means to the world. For example, in the desert country of Israel, there is no shortage of water. Israel leads the world in desalinization, making more fresh water than it needs, recapturing 86-percent of water that goes down the drain and using it for irrigation. Second in the world is Spain, which recycles only 19-percent. This is just one example of the greatness of Israel, a place where innovation truly thrives. The blessing of Israel is that she shares the water and imports the technology so others can benefit from recycled water.

Adventure, excitement, new friends, and the experience of a lifetime await us in Israel, and I look forward to sharing our trip through words and pictures. Please come back for more!

Until next time, when I write from Israel.

Robert I. Lappin Youth to Israel Adventure (Y2I) is a fully funded, fun and exciting life-changing Israel experience for Jewish teens who are rising juniors and seniors in high school and who live in or are members of a temple in any of the 23 cities or towns in Lappin Foundation’s service area. Y2I, a rite of passage for Jewish teens, is open to all, regardless of level of Jewish observance, education, affiliation or abilities.

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