A new summer program for Jewish teens from the U.S. and Canada is kicking off in Israel this summer that will combine spirituality, touring and intensive EMS training offering the participants the opportunity to view Israel from a completely new perspective, one that is not offered on any other touring program.

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The project, which is open for teenagers aged 15-18 is called Rescue Israel and is being run by NCSY in conjunction with United Hatzalah. It is offering the youth of North America the chance to make a difference and train them how to save lives while they tour the country and explore the challenges faced by EMS teams in a variety of terrains.

“We’re getting teens to step outside their comfort zone,” said Shai Jaskoll United Hatzalah’s Vice President of  Development in Israel. “This isn’t just another summer trip. This program will give the participants skills and tools needed to be a first responder. That is something that they can’t find anywhere else,” Jaskoll added. “The point is that we want the participants to challenge themselves and learn about providing medical first aid response and then take what they learn back home with them and continue their training. Perhaps they may even save a life or two on the way.”

Participants in the program will learn CPR and bleeding control and will be able to use these skills in the future. They will get to volunteer on an ambulance and help in United Hatzalah’s state-of-the-art dispatch center located at the national headquarter’s in Jerusalem. Heading up north, the group will join the EMS team in the Kineret and ride along with United Hatzalah’s state-of-the-art water rescue vehicles. In the south, they will learn the dangers and challenges posed to EMS teams by the Negev desert and will experience rescue training that involves a combination of off-road driving in jeeps, special sand vehicles and repelling off cliffs to reach patients stuck in wadis and ravines that pockmark the area around the Dead Sea.

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“We are looking for participants who want to make an impact through their willingness to give back while touring and experiencing the land like never before,” said Jaskoll. “If you’re looking for a fun tourist style summer program than this isn’t the one for you. If you are looking to get your hands dirty, train daily, learn EMS skills and give back while you are here, then this program is the place that you want to be. This trip is a chance to experience Israel through the eyes of those who keep it safe.”

For more information, email [email protected]. Registration is available at summer.ncsy.org