We’ll announce 2017-18 Alternative Break trips soon. Email MJ to add your name to the interest list.

2016-17 Info: Participate with other Jewish Terps on a Maryland Hillel service-learning trip to Las Vegas,Guatemala, Detroit, New Orleans, or San Diego! See below to learn more about each experience and apply today!

Through Maryland Hillel’s extensive Alternative Break program, you have the opportunity to travel to a domestic or international location, immerse yourself in the community, learn about and actively combat social issues, and have fun. An Alternative Break experience will inspire you to understand your role in the world and ability to make change.
After reviewing the trip descriptions, complete an application.

Apply Now!

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2016-17 Alternative Break Experiences

Las Vegas: Perception Vs. Reality

  • Dates: January 8-15, 2017
  • Student Leaders: Ben Bryer and Jessie Cohen
  • Cost: $400 + flight
  • Food: Kosher food will be available
  • Accommodations: rented house

Last year, 42 million visitors saw the bright lights of Las Vegas. At the same time, Las Vegas has the highest high school dropout rate in the country, which poses a serious threat to Nevada’s economic growth. Using the school system as a case study, we’ll learn about the challenges and opportunities in the American education and economic systems.

Guatemala: Environmental Sustainability

  • Dates: January 8-17, 2017
  • Student Leaders: Alan Kaplan and Katie Hamelburg
  • Cost: approx. $875 + flight
  • Food: vegetarian food will be available
  • Accommodations: hotel

This January, we’re traveling to Guatemala to partner with Long Way Home, a non-profit that uses sustainable design and materials to construct self-sufficient schools that promote education, employment, and environmental stewardship. The group will help to complete the building of a school, interact with the Comalapa community, and learn about environmental sustainability!

Detroit: Urban Renewal

  • Dates: March 19–26, 2017
  • Student Leaders
  • Cost: $700 (flight included)
  • Food: Kosher food will be available

In recent years, cities have become a hotbed for real urban change. Meanwhile, Detroit has seen a considerable decline in population, employment opportunities, and economy. In 2013, Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history. We’ll explore the root causes of urban decay and what is being done to foster innovation in cities.

New Orleans: Injustice in the Criminal Justice System

  • Dates: March 19-26, 2017
  • Student Leaders: Andy Weissfeld and Gabriela Alter
  • Cost: $900 (flight included)
  • Food: Kosher food will be available
  • Accommodations: private house

Louisiana, the U.S. incarceration capital, imprisons more of its citizens per capita than any other state. While the state has made strides in the justice system, it still has a long way to go. We’ll explore the root causes of incarceration, preventative programs, and rehabilitation. Plus, we’ll get to know the rich culture of New Orleans.

San Diego: Broader Border Issue

  • Dates: March 19-26, 2017
  • Student Leaders: Joshua Silverman and Rashel Maikhor
  • Cost: $925 (flight included)
  • Food: Kosher food will be available

We’ll travel to San Diego to learn from and volunteer with social service organizations to examine immigration and border issues. We’ll have opportunities to engage with community members and understand the local and national considerations of the immigration issue.

Israel: Volunteers for Israel

Participants on the Volunteers for Israel (VFI) trip will partner with Israelis to do civilian work on army bases and in nursing homes/hospitals. The program began in 1982, during the first war with Lebanon, when civilian replacements were needed for thousands of reservists called to duty just as Israel’s harvest season began. Since 1982, more than 30,000 Americans have signed on to do civilian work on Israeli Defense Force bases. For more information about this trip, contact Shira.

More Information

For more information, review these helpful resources.

About the Program

Service is a fundamental value in Judaism. Through our extensive Alternative Break program, you have the opportunity to explore this principle by immersing yourself in a domestic or global community to learn about and actively combat social justice issues. While on an Alternative Break, you will work in a team and learn about a particular issue, engage in short-term service projects, interact with the local community, hear from experts, and enjoy fun team activities. Alternative Breaks will challenge you to think critically about the relationship between social justice and Judaism, your personal obligation to others and your ability to make change in the world. For questions, email MJ Kurs-Lasky.