Karen Allenick: Israel Service Fellows Alumna

By: 
Maase Olam

Karen Allenick grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and studied social work at Ohio State University. This past year, she lived in Akko, Israel and volunteered as an Israel Service Fellow. “I took the skills I learned from my degree in social work and put them to use working with at-risk youth in different environments in Israel. I worked in schools, after-school centers, community centers in Druze villages, and community gardens.”

In the Druze community centers, Karen taught a cooking class. “When we were taught about the Druze, we learned there was a big generation gap between today’s Druze youth and their grandparents’ generation. Today’s kids are more Israeli, but the older generation is more into Druze culture. We put together a cooking class to break down that barrier. We had a mix of Druze, Israeli, and American recipes. We cooked things from macaroni and cheese and pizza to tabbouleh and shakshuka. We also talked about our favorite foods and learned about nutrition.”

For Karen, her favorite part of Israel Service Fellows was learning more about Israel. “I loved experiencing Israel, not through the touristy point-of-view, but rather from Israelis themselves.” She also appreciated forming a community with her peers. “I loved getting to know the different people that did ISF. We were a really diverse group.”

Karen is planning to live and work in Cleveland for the coming year before making aliyah and moving to Israel. She is already getting involved on the Masa Alumni Board at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland to encourage other young adults in her area to get involved in Israel.