Shuk to court young adults with Israel opportunities

"The Shuk: for Learning and Travel in Israel," which takes place 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, gives young adults the chance to look at study, travel and scholarship opportunities in the Jewish state.

The "Israel at 50" program is a follow-up to the successful "Beyond Tel Aviv" South of Market event, which recently drew approximately 1,200 people.

"Clearly, the young Jewish adults in the Bay Area have a thirst to be together with other Jews and to experience Israeli culture. The Shuk is the perfect event for them to explore the amazing array of options," said Meirav Yaron, program director of the Israel Center of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco.

Modeled after the popular Israeli shuk — an outdoor flea market — the Israel fair is a first for the Bay Area, with one-stop shopping for travel to Israel. In contrast to many of the local Israel fairs, which often target teens and college students, Sunday's event is geared to an older group.

Many of the opportunities are also suitable for midcareer professionals and retirees.

Said Emily Swaab, chair of the event, "Travel to Israel is a life-changing experience. There's no better way to celebrate Israel than by going there yourself. We're trying to make achieving that goal as realistic and easy as possible for a wide array of community members including young adults, professionals and retirees."

Options include Reform, Conservative and Orthodox yeshivot; Jewish studies; hiking and nature exploration; archaeology, arts, or medical school studies; undergraduate or graduate university programs; work-study programs; religious and secular kibbutzim; and Hebrew-language programs.

Travel agencies specializing in Israel will also be on hand, along with Israeli food, music and videos.

Participants include Pardes, Livnot U'lehibanot, the World Union of Jewish Students, New Israel Fund, TASP (teacher training and exchange), Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv University, Volunteers for Israel, Kibbutz Program Center, Otzma, Young Judaea and several yeshivot.

Some of the speakers will hold on-the-spot interviews, and others will show videos. Representatives from the two Bay Area Israel centers also will be on hand to help participants plan trips.

The Shuk: for Learning and Travel in Israel is jointly sponsored by the JCC of S.F., the S.F.-based Israel Center and the Israel Center of the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay. The JCC of S.F. is at 3200 California St. For information, call Swaab at (415) 831-3406.