[by Phyllis Shaikun]
Alanna Gilbert and Jordyn Levine, both juniors in high school at Ballard and Manual respectively, enjoyed an “amazing” trip to Israel with their friends from B’nai B’rith Beber Camp as part of the camp’s Pioneer Israel Experience from July 17-August 7. Both long-time Beber campers (this past summer was Gilbert’s seventh and Levine’s eighth), the trip was a dream come true for both young women and one neither will ever forget.
Gilbert considered her Israel adventure a very special opportunity to see the country with her “best friends since I was little.” While her trip was structured, she had lots of opportunities to be with her long-time buddies and meet new friends at the same time. She appreciated all of the activities involved with the water and found the museums extremely interesting. “They gave you a great opportunity,” she says, “to connect with the past and with one another.”
Her time spent in Israel reinforced her desire to pursue Jewish interests, and she is sure she will join the Hillel Chapter at whatever college she chooses to attend. She wants to go to a school with a large Jewish population, and she and her friends also plan to pledge Jewish fraternities or sororities.
A busy teen, Gilbert has played field hockey for 11 years and now plays with the International Field Hockey Club of Kentucky (IFHCK), which involves traveling and playing against other clubs. She is a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society and Chemistry Club and is a math tutor.
The current vice president of Jay Levine BBG for a second term, she has also served three terms as secretary. She has chaired regional committees and will be attending the international BBYO conference in February. In addition, she took part in Pledge 13 and has her own B’nai Tzedek Fund that allows her to be a philanthropist and give back to the community.
Gilbert is the daughter of Amy and Lance Gilbert, the granddaughter of Sylvia Golberg and the sister of Becca and Jason.
Levine is in a two-year leadership program sponsored by Beber Camp. She also appreciated seeing Israel with her long-time camp friends.
“We traveled all over,” said the bubbly teen. “We spent Shabbat in Jerusalem twice and I even got to spend a special time sharing Shabbat with some long-lost relatives who live near Tel Aviv. Our group took lots of hikes, saw the four seas (the Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean) and visited the Golan Heights.”
Other highlights of her trip included taking part in an archaeological dig (where Levine found a piece of ancient pottery), staying at a kibbutz near the Sea of Galilee where she took an evening boat trip and saw Independence Hall in Tel Aviv where Israel was declared a state. She returned feeling it is important for teens to become Jewishly involved and a trip to Israel is part of it.
Back home, Levine played field hockey and is a member of several service groups including the Key Club and Beta Club. She is joining the “Y” club, which holds conventions and teaches how government works, and she might be leaning toward a career in accounting or law. She will join Hillel in college and wants to be part of a college with a large Jewish population.
Levine has served several terms on the BBYO board as treasurer and is very interested in fundraising. She is now the gizborit (treasurer) for Jay Levine BBG and is determined to get the entire chapter behind a project on which they will work together.
Jordyn is the daughter of Marci and Glenn Levine and the granddaughter of Sonya and Dr. Ronald Levine and Maureen and Bill Tarnopol. Her brother, Daniel, is in the eighth grade.