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YU News

Teens to Explore American Jewish Identity at Eimatai Conference

Feb 7, 2005 -- Students from yeshiva high schools around the United States will gather in Cleveland, TX, approximately 60 miles north of Houston, March 13 - 15 to explore American Jewish identity. Following student-led presentations and panel discussions on the challenges, conflicts and implications of being both American and Jewish, attendees will hear from Ben Fine, a student at Yavneh Academy of Dallas and founder and president of Students Against Terrorism (S.A.T.), on “Effective Student Leadership from Overseas.”

This conference, one in a series on leadership development for high school students, is sponsored by Eimatai, an initiative of Yeshiva University (YU). Students of Yavneh Academy joined forces to form S.A.T. following their participation in a March 2002 Eimatai conference that focused on active leadership and ways to help victims of terror in Israel. S.A.T. has currently raised more than $120,000 for distribution in Israel.

“In the wake of the recent tsunami, it is important for students to know that they can take an active leadership stance from abroad,” said Judy Goldgrab, director of Eimatai, “S.A.T. is a prime example of what we hope Eimatai will continue to spawn in the future. Students are often amazed at how their passions are ignited through these types of forums, and more so, by the changes they are able to effect later on.”

Eimatai was designed by college students to motivate, develop, and train high school students for Jewish leadership. A project of YU’s Max Stern Division of Communal Services of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, Eimatai has honed scores of student leaders since its founding in 2000. Through conferences, seminars, and online forums, the initiative has inspired projects ranging from letter-writing campaigns that touched hundreds of Israeli soldiers, to a yeshiva high school solidarity rally that gathered 4,000 students.

Ben Fine, in delivering the closing address, will suggest ways for students to implement their ideas for effective leadership. He will also describe how Eimatai inspired the founding of S.A.T. and how students in schools across the US can overcome challenges to provide aid long-distance.