The Tzofim Israel Scouts Friendship Caravan Show made its 10th annual stop at the Tucson Jewish Community Center last week, putting on a free musical performance as part of a three-month tour of the United States.

It was kind of like "American Idol" meets Israeli Boy and Girl Scouts.

Essentially a goodwill tour, there are four current Tzofim groups touring various parts of the United States, driving to each city before leaving out of New York in August.

"We are driving everywhere. It's like a '60s road trip. It's really cool," said leader Nina Klevitsky. "We drive from one place to another and we perform and do educational activities, and Q and A's."

Performing in front of about 150 folks of all ages, the hourlong show last Thursday featured 11 songs by 16-year-old boys and girls who have practiced since last January after making the final 40 cut from more than 2,000 people who auditioned, Klevitsky explained.

"We are trying to get into people's hearts - basically perform, talk and speak, and just bring the real Israel out there," Klevitsky said. "It's not about the pictures and TV and men in suits that come and speak, it's real teenagers and they sing and dance and they just bring themselves."

Kids at the JCC, 3800 E. River Road, enjoyed the various performances. Scott Zorn, the center's director of Children, Youth and Camping Services, said he really appreciates what the Israel Scouts are doing as a whole.

"They are young adults, and it's really trying to give them a chance to not only visit the United States, but also to give us the culture of Israel," Zorn said. "Kids love this."

After the show, audience members got a chance to meet the various performers and ask them questions about being a teenager in Israel, said the beaming Klevitsky, who calls herself "the 27-year-old mother with 10 children."

"The whole fun is that they are not professional singers - they sometimes mess up - but they are amazing," she said.

The event was sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, the Weintraub Israel Center and the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

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Contact photographer David Sanders at 573-4155 or