Despite being currently scattered in different countries, more than 120 Ukrainian Jewish students and young professionals have been treated to an amazing trip to Italy after a year of intensive study of Judaism.
“At first,” says Rabbi Pinchas Wishedsky, director of STARS Ukraine, “we thought that this year, due to the challenging circumstances, we might not be able to hold the annual trip. However, after consulting our supporters, the Federation of Jewish Communities, Rabbi Avi Cassel from the Global STARS organization, and the directors of the YAHAD organization, we decided to overcome all the obstacles and find a way to reward our students for their diligent study.”
“Another important factor that motivated us to bring together students from all the different locations they dispersed to following the crisis,” adds Rabbi Wishedsky, “is the fact that this year is the traditional year of ‘Hakel’ – Gathering – adding strong significance to uniting our students in such a special event.”
The trip that united participants of the STARS Intensive program from Ukraine, Israel, the United States, Canada, Germany, and additional European countries, treated the students to a week-long, once-in-a-lifetime experience in Italy.
The students enjoyed tours and attractions in Venice, Milano, the Dolomites, and additional sites, along with a special Shabbaton, inspiring lectures, and special meals. “It was like a breath of fresh air,” explained Masha one of the participants, “not only for those of us coming from within Ukraine but also for our refugee peers forced to reside abroad.“
STARS Intensive is a unique learning program active across Ukraine, enabling Jewish students who dedicatee eight hours every week to the study of Judaism, to participate in a memorable annual trip packed with attractions, amusement, values, and solidarity.