Etgar 36

Etgar 36 is a cross-country journey for Jewish teens that exposes them to history, politics and activism in order to develop a passion to create change in America. For 22 or 36 days during the summer, Jews ages 14 to 18 travel on a coach bus across the United States. Instead of visiting water slides and amusement parks, Etgar 36 exposes them to issues such as immigration, health care and gay marriage in a non-partisan and non-denominational manner. By hearing multiple sides of an issue, teens begin to develop their own opinions and analyses and return home with a desire to become involved in Jewish, American and world events. 

As an example of a typical summer journey, participants might meet with a father in Colorado whose son was killed in the Columbine shootings to hear him advocate for gun control, followed by a meeting with a representative from the National Ri e Association at its headquarters in Dallas. Then they might visit Operation Rescue, a pro-life non-pro t in Dallas, and travel to Washington, D.C. to hear a pro-choice take from NARAL. The summer journeys have been so popular with teens that 25 day schools, conFIrmation classes and synagogue youth groups have begun contracting with Etgar 36 for three- and four-day programs during the school year to explore civil rights in the Southeast or Presidential campaigns in D.C. After six years in operation, Etgar 36 is also hearing of its longer-term impact on alumni who, because of Etgar journeys, are studying environmental law and political science in college or are starting AIPAC or Amnesty International chapters on their campuses. Parents and teachers report that their children and students are watching the news daily and catalyzing conversations about historic and current events at home and at school. 

Etgar 36 is “a little program that has big vision.” It currently serves 1,800 students annually and is helping “to recapture a spirit of civic engagement and a sense that Jews are at the forefront of social change in this country.” With more name recognition and capacity building, this “gem of a program” could grow to accommodate thousands of adolescents at a critical stage in the development of their Jewish identities. 

  • Region

  • Population Served

    Children Teens
  • Program Area(s)

    Arts & Culture Children Environment Gender Philanthropy Community Building LGBTQ Health Holocaust Interfaith Jewish Education Jews of Color Leadership Development Media & Technology Poverty Service Social Justice Spirituality Travel
  • Contact

    Billy Planer
  • Email
  • Phone

  • Website
  • Address

    P.O. Box 2212 Decatur, GA 30031
  • Founded

  • Board Chair(s)

    Mark Cohen
  • Expenses