JCC Teen Trip Participant to Speak at Federation
Yom HaAtzmaut Event
GUEST SPEAKERS: Brad Smertz, Jean & Jacob Blom
Brad Smertz is the son of Alan and Michele Smertz of Clarks Summit, PA. He is a junior at Abington Heights High School and is employed by the Glen Oak Country Club.
Brad’s hobbies include: B’nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO), Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), National Honors Society (NHS), as well as volunteering in the community. He enjoys high school and travel baseball, exercising, traveling abroad and enjoys time with friends and family.
Brad went to Israel as part of the Scranton JCC’s teen trip this past December. When asked why he wanted to participate, Brad told us,” I wanted to go to Israel to gain firsthand experience and assimilate with the Jewish nucleus of the world. At the same time, I looked forward to enjoying and appreciating the beautiful weather, geography and history of our homeland. Of course, I couldn’t wait to spend time with the wonderful supervisors who were coming as well as my good friends.”
And now, that Brad has returned, he shared with us some of his impressions of his trip.” I got so much from my trip to Israel. I feel that I acquired leadership and social skills. Dealing with the physically handicapped and less fortunate citizens of Israel spurred an appreciation for what I have as well as a definitive initiative in giving back to the Jewish community. The extraordinary landscape and history was second to none. The historical buildings and landmarks sparked a curiosity and passion for my Jewish origins. I hope that the trip was not a once in a life time opportunity, as I would definitely love to take a trip back to Israel in the near future. “
Please join the Jewish Federation of NEPA on Tuesday April 16, 2013- Yom HaAtzmaut/Israel’s Independence Day- at 7:00 PM at the JCC when Brad Smertz will give us a chance to hear about his trip to Israel.
Jean Blom lives in Hallstead, PA and has been a lover and supporter of Israel and the Jewish people for many years. She works as a Housekeeper at the Inn in Montrose and is a wife and a mother of two children, Jacey and Jacob. Last year, she came upon a link that was posted on a Facebook site that supports Israel. It told about going to Israel as a volunteer with the Sar-El program through Volunteers for Israel. People from all over the world are partnered with one of the Israeli Defense Force Military bases to do non-combat, hands on, civilian support duties. Jean and her son, Jacob, had the opportunity to go this past October for two weeks. The experience enhanced her love for Israel and has encouraged her to want to share this with others.
Jacob Blom is currently a junior in the Montrose Area School District and an enlisted soldier with the U.S. National Guard. During his time of researching which field of service he wanted to join, he became familiar with the Israeli Defense Forces through Facebook. Needless to say, he found them to be not only admirable but highly respected throughout the world. As part of his graduating requirements from High School, each student needed to do a senior project. Jake chose to volunteer alongside his mother, Jean, not only fulfill this requirement but to show support for the IDF too. This experience has been a highlight for him not only as a soldier, but a friend to Israel.