July 21, 2022

ALLMEP Member Extend Celebrates 1 Year of Operation

Read below a letter from Extend’s Jerusalem Program Director, Isaac Johnston, on Extend’s accomplishments this year.



A year ago, I joined the Extend team as the Jerusalem Program Director. I took this job because I feel a deep responsibility as an American Jew to continue opening eyes and hearts to the injustices being done in Judaism’s name and with American political support. One year later, I am incredibly proud of the work we’ve accomplished and excited for where we are headed. And I’m deeply thankful for all who have powered our work: from partners on the ground in the West Bank to Extend’s supporters across North America, Europe, and Israel-Palestine.

In my year at Extend, we accomplished a lot: over 200 people joined us for programs to meet with partners all over Israel-Palestine; we forged new partnerships for programs in the South Hebron Hills, Haifa, and the Gaza Border; we hosted our second annual online gala featuring Congressman Jamaal Bowman and activist Palestinian partners; and we brought participants from Hebrew Union College, Pardes, the Conservative Yeshiva, Tel Aviv University, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, Young Judaea Year Course, the Hartman Institute’s Hevruta Mechina, Nativ, Midreshet Lindenbaum, Nishmat, Yeshivat Orayta, and Yeshivat Ma’alei Gilboa.

While participants came from such a diverse set of institutions and backgrounds, one common thread united them: an insistence on learning about and understanding the lives and experiences of Palestinians living under occupation. The moral urgency of fighting for a just future with dignity for all became even clearer to me as I traveled throughout Israel-Palestine with Extend. For so many American Jews, the experiences of Palestinians are simply not on their radars. On a recent program to the South Hebron Hills, rabbinical students struggled with the enormity of bringing back what they had seen to their congregations. By encountering accounts of settler violence, home demolition, and forced expulsion, these rabbinical students can return to their communities with stories that are impossible to ignore and turn away. A new generation of American Jews continues to demand a complete picture of this land, as one gap year participant wrote, “Extend zoomed in the conversation, platforming Palestinian stories with all their details, without ever losing sight of this larger frameworks and systems in which the stories took place.”

As I enter my second year as the Jerusalem Program Director, I am energized to build and grow Extend even further. This year we are offering family programs for the first time and a gap year cohort in each semester, in addition to our usual programs. We will continue to form new partnerships across Israel-Palestine so that our participants gain a clear understanding of the realities in this land and the necessity for a just and equitable future for all.

We couldn’t do this work without your support. Here are a few simple ways to help grow Extend:

  • Tell people you know traveling to Israel to join our upcoming programs
  • Tell your friends and family to join Extend for a customized family program
  • Make a tax-deductible contribution to our work here


In solidarity,


To learn more about Extend, please visit: https://www.extendprograms.org/

ABOVE: Isaac Johnston’s first Extend program in East Jerusalem with participants from Pardes.

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