Teens get a taste of the Big Apple
Twenty-one post-bar- and batmitzvah youngsters from Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue have returned from a week in New York - "the largest and most exciting educational undertaking this synagogue has ever participated in".
Accompanied by Rabbi David Mitchell, two youth workers and four young adult madrichim, the 14- and 15-year-olds visited major synagogues and other sites of Jewish interest, including Ellis Island. They also took a tour of old New York with a local rabbi.
An afternoon was spent helping out at the Hebrew Union College Soup Kitchen, where they handed over a cheque for $700, the proceeds from a raffle they had organised in the UK.
"We had an awesome time visiting New York - it was a trip that I'll never forget," said 15-year-old Daniel Blaston. Natasha Brandon, also 15, added that "after all our hard work fundraising, it was a brilliant experience".
Radlett and Bushey Reform members raised more than £8,000 towards the cost of the teenagers' trip through social events including quizzes, a bingo evening, car wash and car boot sales and a summer fair.
RBRS chair Gill Burns said: "The aim of the trip was to keep the teenagers involved in Jewish life. They are future leaders in one of south Hertfordshire's fastest-growing congregations."