The struggle against hatred only strengthened me.

Tara, Kol Ami participant

Enabling her passion for Israel

Like any major transition in life, joining the military—especially as an immigrant—requires significant preparation. Tara has received precisely the support she needs at one of The Jewish Agency’s Kol Ami: Jewish Peoplehood Academies.

These post-high school academies bring together young Israelis and their Jewish peers from abroad, with the aim of strengthening the participants’ connection to the Jewish people. The curriculum includes personal growth and empowerment; learning and volunteering together to benefit Israeli society and each other; studying public diplomacy, Jewish texts, more.

In the U.S., Tara had studied at a Jewish school until age 12, and then attended a secular boarding school for high school. There, she encountered antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment. Tara says she responded by becoming a de facto “ambassador of Israel” at the school.

“It was very difficult because I lived with people who doubted Israel's right to exist, and some said bad things about Jews,” she recalls.

“It was a difficult experience, and some days I cried. But I was not ready to leave. I did not think I could go back to my bubble, my parents, and give up.”

Ultimately, Tara says her struggle against hatred “only strengthened me.”

At Kol Ami Kiryat Anavim academy, she has bonded with a diverse array of peers ranging from Australians to Israelis.

With this experience, Tara was ready for her next step as an IDF soldier.

Tara says that the academy is “the perfect place for me to be me” She calls her peers “like brothers and sisters to me.”

“It’s a wonderful place to fulfill my dreams and the tasks I set for myself,” Tara says.

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