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Federation, Partnership 2Gether create unique Shabbat experience for UCF students on Birthright


You may not know this, but the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando is home to the third largest university Jewish population in the United States.

An estimated 6,000 Jewish students attend UCF – with a majority of them hailing from South Florida. Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County provides funding for UCF’s robust Hillel program, which includes fully-funded Birthright trips to Israel.

But it may come as a shock to you that when a group of UCF students traveled to Israel, they got a piece of home – and a Shabbat experience they will never forget.


The students’ first stop on their 10-day journey was in Tzfat – one of the three cities that comprises the TZAHAR region (the other two being Hazor HaGlilit and Rosh Pina). This region is Federation's Partnership 2Gether region, which is one end of a living bridge that fosters collaboration, unique experiences and strong connections with the Jewish community of the greater Palm Beaches.

The group was welcomed to Tzfat by members of Livnot U’Lehibanot, a six-week Partnership 2Gether program where Jewish young adults volunteer, hike and immerse themselves in Israeli life. The groups sang and danced together, ushering in Shabbat.

In other words, these students from UCF experienced their first Shabbat in Israel with members of the country’s center of Jewish mysticism – connecting back to the greater Palm Beaches through Partnership 2Gether.


“Our gorgeous experience contributed such a sense of community and warmth to our group,” said Brittany Walters of Hillel UCF, who accompanied the Birthright trip participants. “It was a really inspired, amazing first Shabbat together, all thanks to Federation and Partnership 2Gether.”

The trip moved on from Tzfat for a 10-day experience full of beautiful landscapes, exciting adventures and new friendships. But this trip would not have been the same without the experience through Partnership 2Gether that powerfullly demonstrated that Israel (particularly the TZAHAR region) is a place that every Jewish person can call home.

To secure your spot on this year's Birthright trip from our area, click here.

To learn more about Hillel at universities in South Florida, click here.

To learn more about Livnot, U’Lehibanot, click here.

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