America is the journey and destination of any Etgar 36 journey. Etgar 36 is a cross country summer journey in which you experience the sites, sounds, culture, food, and people of each city. You will learn about the American history that shapes us, our Jewish heritage that binds us, the issues that confront us and how the political process impacts us.
The goal of the trip is to empower you to get involved politically and socially to create change in the world. We meet with people and organizations that deal with all sides of hot topic issues such as abortion, gun control, health issues, and civil rights just to name a few. We talk with educators, politicians, activists, artists, musicians as well as community, business and religious leaders in order to understand what we are seeing and how it relates to the various themes and issues we are discussing and debating.
Etgar 36 is an independent, non denominational, non partisan and non profit Jewish educational venture. The goal of all Etgar 36 programs in to help create the future American and Jewish political voice by helping our youth become critical thinkers. The beginnings of Etgar 36 can be traced to 1995 when Billy began to take the youth group he was running on annual weekend trips to various cities. Etgar 36 was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non profit on September 11, 2002. The first summer journey was run in 2003.
In the Fall of 2004, Etgar 36 was contacted by the Gann Academy in Boston to plan and run a trip through the Southeast for their 10th grade. The success of that trip has led to many Jewish High Schools and Middle Schools, as well as synagogue Confirmation classes and youth groups, going on Etgar 36 tailor made journeys during the school year.
Billy Planer is the founder and Director of Etgar 36. He developed Etgar 36 after 20 years of leading synagogue youth programs and educating Jewish young people. He has led numerous trips around America and abroad. Billy graduated with a degree in Psychology and Advertising from Syracuse University and received a Masters in Counseling from the school of Education at Georgia State University. He is from Atlanta.