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Blog Content

Filtering by Category: Alumni Profiles

Who Comes On A Justifi Trip?

Steve M

Imagine packing your bags, heading to the airport, and boarding your plane to another continent for a 7-10 day adventure. For some Justifi participants this is exciting, for others it could be intimidating! 

Thankfully, when you travel with Justifi, you're not alone. Our team has a combined 30+ years of experience traveling and running programs for Jewish students and young professionals. Plus, you will be meeting an inspired crew of like-minded friends on the ground to join you in your adventure. 

Who can you expect to meet on your program? Every group is a unique mix. Most participants join to have an incredible experience, make a meaningful impact, and enjoy a great time with fun peers. They come from different Jewish backgrounds, from non-affiliated to orthodox, and most somewhere in between. We don't judge, and we go the extra mile to make sure all are welcome (that means strictly Kosher food and Shabbat-friendly programming so observant participants can eat and engage fully, too).

Our group size is generally between 8-18 participants. We've had students in their last years of college or grad school, professionals launching their careers, established entrepreneurs looking for inspiration, and so many more. Basically, we seek quality participants from diverse backgrounds who are driven, passionate, and play well with others :)

Here's What Our Recent Alumni Are Up To:

Bianca L: An accomplished young professional and passionate traveller, Bianca joined us first as a participant in Thailand in 2012 then returned as an assistant staff member in 2013. When she's not crushing it at Google, she's either traveling with us or putting her recently-earned PADI scuba certification to good use in some other paradise you've always dreamed of visiting.

Micahel P: When he's not traveling with us to Thailand or Nicaragua, Michael spends his time working as a law clerk in Jersey City. He's organized numerous events for our New York based alumni (now over 150 strong and growing), including Shabbat dinners, volunteer events, and an outing to his recent performance at a Jewish Community Theatre. See his featurette on our blog here. 

Tara K: Tara made time for her Justifi trip in between graduating college in Brooklyn and before going to seminary in Jerusalem. Quite literally, she booked her itinerary from New York - Bangkok - Tel Aviv! 

Tara was able to use her passion for art, yoga, and childhood education to create some incredible activities with the at-risk children we worked with. 

Lior O:  Hailing from Toronto, Lior is a successful internet entrepreneur who started his online marketing consulting company while still in college (and ran his company remotely during 2 trips with us last Summer).

Lior's two Justifi trips allowed him to experience a new challenge, working alongside local non-profits in rural communities and going back to 'work' energized for the next adventure!

Inspired To Join Our Crew?

Here's the link where you can submit your application. If approved, you'll gain access to any Justifi trip we run, now or in the future, to any destination we visit.

You'll then have the chance to connect with our small-but-dedicated team of travel professionals. They can help answer any questions you have and help you join the trip that's right for you!

He Couldn't Believe His Eyes...

Dov Ber

Josh Greenstein & Tom Karen

Two years after his Justifi trip to Thailand, Josh came back as a madrich (leader) and couldn’t believe his eyes.

When he left Tom Karen’s center in the small village of Ban Huay Sak one hour north of Chiang Rai, there was one classroom which could hold about 20 kids, an outhouse for a toilet (that means a very deep hole dug into the ground, surrounded by a small wooden hut) and a few books, toys and one 1970’s Yamaha kids keyboard for the kids to play with.  

On his return, there was a second classroom full of books and maps and educational posters, musical instruments and art supplies, there was a restroom building with three toilets and a shower, there was the foundation for a new classroom, and the walls were covered in pictures of the summer camps and weekly lessons that Tom’s center now provides.

Tom Karen himself cannot believe what has taken place in such a short time.

“Before I met Jamie and Justifi, I was just a tour guide trying to find work showing foreigners around Northern Thailand.  Now I am getting to live my dream, helping my community to get educated, running English, Chinese, math and science workshops, working to prevent the our children from getting trafficked to bars in Bangkok and neighboring countries, creating programs for the elderly and sponsoring orphans in their education through the support of monthly donations from Justifi alumni.  On top of that my wife is now on the local council representing women’s rights and I have gone back to university at 42 years of age to get a degree in English!”

People often challenge us saying ‘how much difference can a short term volunteer trip make?  Really, you can’t be doing much good for the locals.’

At which point I smile patiently, offer them a drink, and spend the next half an hour filling then in on the facts on the ground.  Having been back to Thailand year after year, and experiencing it with my own eyes, I can inform them that although one group may just come in and leave having helped the local builders (who wouldn’t have had work if we weren’t there) lay the foundations of a classroom, or having painted some chairs or taught an English class which may not feel like a big deal at the time, when taken as part of a much larger ongoing project each bucket of concrete, each new English phrase learnt, eachsmile shared between volunteer and school kid, each brick in the wall helps build a strong, stable and self-sustainable edifice which is making a huge difference in many people’s lives.

You see, a brick on its own may indeed not be much use, but when it becomes part of a wall, when one person becomes part of a team which goes back to the same villages, the same schools year after year, a significant impact is made on the lives of those who stand to benefit most, which in turns effects the lives of their children and children’s children for many years to come.