gap year in israel

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Shalom Parents!
I hope you are well.

Another week has come to an end and it looks as if most of the students have found their path. They look, or at least think that they are busy all the time which hopefully means that they are doing more than they are used to which of course makes us all happy!

I’ll share with you some of what I’ve seen and heard this week.

TimTam and CoffeeOn Sunday evening Idan and Shirli decided that they cannot continue life without first teaching the students the “holy” ritual of TimTam and Coffee! This is a common practice here in Israel which was developed by creative minds (bored soldiers) sitting at their posts trying to pass the time. All you need to do is to take a take a bite from each side of a Tim Tam (a Tim Tam is a cookie shaped like a straw) and then you can drink your coffee through the Tim Tam. Afterwards you can eat the cookie and thanks to the coffee the taste is heavenly! Some of the students who have visited Israel before were already familiar with the practice while those who did it for the first time agreed that it was a life changing experience and I highly recommend that you try!

Just to reassure you, I am in no way associated with the company that makes these cookies!

Boys & Girls Night OutThe next day we organized a “Boys & Girls Night Out” and each group went with their counselor to have some fun!
The boys tested their man skills at bowling while the girls went to a club to hang out with the counselors (Shirley and Or). While there Shirley and Or gave an informal talk about how to have fun in the city while being safe.

Tuesday was one of my personal favorite tours with Aardvark, to the Ayalon Institute located in Rechovot. The students were led through a narrow opening in the floor of the kibbutz’s laundry room. At the bottom of the stairs the students found themselves in an old bullet factory. In the time of the British Mandate members of the kibbutz used the noise produced by the gigantic washing machines to cover up the noise coming from the factory. The workers spent their days in a small suffocating room making bullets for the fighting brigades to use. The factory was kept secret not only from the British but also from the kibbutz members. The kibbutz’s residents believed that the people in the factory were actually working in the fields. In order to maintain this illusion the underground workers had to sit in an improvised tanning room in the basement for a few hours each week so that no one in the Kibbutz would wonder why the hardworking agriculturists were so pale. It’s a very interesting place with a great story and I’m happy the group got to see it.

Parasha & Pizza by Rabbi Marck:
“This week in Parsha and Pizza we spoke about the Torah portion of Teruma. The portion describes the design and planning for the mobile Temple that the Jewish people took with them on their travels across the desert. It was called the Mishkan. The Torah describes all the materials needed to build the Menorah, the Ark of the Covenant and other utensils to be placed in the Mishkan as well as their dimensions. All the gold, wood, fur, cloth, silver and curtains were donated by the people. We spoke about the importance of spirit in donating and giving. The Torah describes the Jews as contributing to the building with “generosity of heart” and this led us to reflect on the billions of dollars raised by Jewish philanthropists across the world each year. Perhaps giving and donating is part of our Jewish DNA. Finally, we learnt about the Ark of the Covenant and how it was covered with gold outside and in. Some commentaries took inspiration from the Ark in that it teaches us to be consistent and make sure our inside match our outside. It really can be quite a challenge to be authentic! “

Girls at coffee shopOn Wednesday the staff held an activity called “Café Ivrit” (Hebrew Coffee). We ordered a table in a coffee shop and invited the students to drink coffee (or chocolate milk) and to learn conversational Hebrew, the slang that we Israelis use on a daily basis when we talk between friends. For example, “Ma Kore Haim Sheli?” (“How are you my life?” – ‘my life’ is a term of affection) or “Neshama Shel Barbur” (“Soul of a swan”). It was a very fun activity.

Zack Stokar is doing an internship in the “Museum of Israel” where he is responsible for the museum’s comic archive. Zack has a weakness for comics and his knowledge of them is tremendous! While managing the archive he is also learning a lot about the history and culture of Israel.

A Summary Of Intro to Business By Dr. Harold Goldmeier:
“We have been discussing and reading about business organization and management. We intersperse it with examining the essence of entrepreneur skills and qualities. Here is a link to a story the students read and discussed about a local hardware store facing down Home Depot. Will their strategy work? Can they compete? Are their customers loyal enough to pay more for better service and nostalgia?
Click here to read it!

Their first real world papers are almost due. They have to write a business plan/description no more than 4 pages about a real company (perhaps yours) or fantasy company (including law practice and medical practice because those have to run profitably).

This past week’s Torah reading is all about business and finance. ”

Those on the Mind & Body Track continued their sessions with Maxine. This time they focused on “Wind Cupping”, an ancient technique for facilitating blood circulation and releasing blood and energy stagnation. According to Chinese medicine, pulled muscles, localized pain etc. is caused by the stagnation of the blood’s energy and the students who agreed to allow Maxine to cup their backs said that they felt true relief!

FYI – Over the weekend, there is a Chocolate Festival in a pretty area of Tel Aviv, if you talk with your child this weekend make sure that they are going with a friend.

This is all for now.
Shabbat Shalom,

Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael