A member of the Class of 2000 recently recounted the "life-changing experience" she had as a volunteer in Israel for a Detroit newspaper.

Melissa Ellstein '00, of Lansing, Michigan, is among those quoted in a recent story in the Detroit Jewish News about Project Otzma, a program that annually immerses 70-80 young men and women in Israeli life. Ellstein, who returned home in May of this year, lived in absorption centers that catered to Jews coming to Israel from Ethiopia and South America and worked in the middle-class Israeli Arab community of Tarshiha. There she learned the hopes and fears of Arab teenagers.

"I learned a lot, especially from the personal stories," Ellstein said of the people she met and worked with. Of the teenagers, she noted, "They're scared, too, about war and their future," she says, but also not so different from American teens who enjoy popular movies and music.

To read the entire story and see photos of the group -- including Ellstein -- click here.

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