Inaugural Interfaith Mission for Delaware Valley Teens Scheduled for December ‘07
Governor Ed Rendell Honorary Chairman
Contact: Evan Levitt • JNF Campaign Executive • 215-832-0690 • email@example.com
January 15, 2007-- Philadelphia, PA -- Looking to change the world one student at a time, Bucks County resident Gene Epstein has created the Common Ground Mission, a program that will enable interfaith groups of American teens to gain mutual respect and understanding of each other while on a 10-day trip touring the Holy Land of Israel.
The inaugural mission of 80 students in 10th and 11th grades will take place during December 2007.
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has taken on the role of Honorary Chairman of Common Ground.
“As Governor,” he said, “one of my priorities has been student achievement; education is the key if our youth are to become the leaders of tomorrow. The Common Ground Mission shares that priority and I am honored to help them create ambassadors of tolerance and develop leadership skills in the teens of our community.”
Epstein, a philanthropist, conceived of this trip “because I want people to understand each other’s roots,” he said. “The best way to promote peace and understanding between the religions is for people to be exposed to the roots of those religions. What better place to do that than in Israel, home to Islam, Christianity, and Judaism?”
Arranged by Israel Experts, the itinerary includes visits to the holy sites of all three religions in Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Massada, the Galilee,Nazareth, hiking in the Golan Heights, a jeep ride in the Negev Desert, the Israeli Knesset and more.
“Instead of seeing each other in terms of conflict,” said Epstein, “it is hoped that the participants will be so inspired by their time together and the chance they have to get to and understand each other as individuals, that they will get back home and share what they learned with their peers. I have every reason to believe that Common Ground will diffuse hatred and bias and start a positive chain reaction in the world.”
The inaugural mission is seeking students from the Delaware Valley area, though a religion teacher from The St. Frances Academy in Baltimore will serve on the advisory committee and one of its students will be chosen for the mission. All applicants will be screened by an advisory board. The goal is for this to become a national program sending 800 students on missions yearly.
The program is administered by Jewish National Fund, a non-profit organization founded in 1901 to serve as caretaker of the land of Israel.
For information, or to download an application, go to www.commongroundmission.com/.
Caption: Governor Ed Rendell
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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.
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