gap year in israel

Check out our social media to see what our students have been up to this past week!

Dear Parents,

I cannot believe that there are just two weeks left of the program. I feel like I just met the students yesterday. They were confused and excited, and full of question like “Why am I not alone in the room?”, “Why are there so many steps?”, “Why do I have to get up in the morning for volunteering?” and “What lessons are mandatory?”

WOW they have matured a lot since then!!

Today they have been skipping up the stairs without a problem, waking up in the morning without any problems, well almost. They are always willing to help me do what I ask of them. Soon it will be time to say goodbye, but until then we have a few more things to do.

Here are some of the activities from the past week:

On Tuesday our siyur was to Herodion, an archeological site featuring a palace-fortress built by King Herod and it is possibly also the site where Herod was buried. In some ways it’s similar to Masada, but it is actually a man-made mountain with a fortress on top and tunnels underneath. According to Josephus, Herodion was built on the spot where Herod won a victory over his Hasmonean and Parthian enemies in 40 BCE. The fortress is said to have been built between 23 and 15 BCE and it’s located just outside Jerusalem.

Gedalia was amazed at how well preserved it was. He said “it is amazing how much history you can find in Israel considering it is a tiny state”. Later on we went to the aqueduct near Gosh Hazion, the same aqueduct that brought water to the Herodion. We walked inside the cave and swam in the water. At night we ate chocolate fondue. For each fruit or snack the students had to answer a question about their time in Israel. We had some laughs; however, the atmosphere became a bit sad as we started to summarize our time in Israel. It certainly feels like the beginning of the end. In addition the student realized that bamba and chocolate is awesome!

Here are few words from Scott Marcus who volunteers at a Veterinary Clinic:

I have had the pleasure of working at the Haviva Veterinary Clinic in Rehavia for the past 5 months. I have been serving as a veterinary assistant, working alongside Dr. Hagai Almagor, watching and assisting surgeries, and rehabilitating sick and injured animals. It has been an absolutely unforgettable experience, learning the science and procedures behind veterinary medicine, and getting to know the clinic staff. The proprietor, Dr. Almagor, is accompanied by a team of two additional veterinarians, as well as two veterinary assistants in addition to myself. We also have a number of resident animals that live at the clinic. Firstly there is a cat by the name of Lonnie who gets free range in the kennel area of the clinic and enjoys taking naps on the shelves stocked with towels and blankets back there. We also have a single lovebird that Dr. Almagor has been frantically trying to find a mate for because lovebirds are notoriously prone to loneliness and begin to lose their feathers and even die if they do not have a partner. Finally we have Dr. Almagor’s dog, Katina, who comes to work every day with the doctor. He has grown quite fond of me during my time at Haviva and greets me very excitedly when I walk in every morning.

Over the past 2 months we have been rehabilitating a 3 year old street cat that was hit by a car, suffering a fracture straight down the middle of both the mandible and maxilla, resulting in the loss of the cat’s eyesight and ability to use its mouth. Dr. Almagor was able to surgically rejoin the separated jaws and install a feeding tube directly into the cat’s stomach. For 6 weeks we fed the cat a liquid diet and performed additional surgeries to aid his recovery. This past week he began to eat solid food on his own and has nearly regained his vision. The clinic staff has nicknamed him Menachem.

Overall, working at Haviva over the last 5 months has been incredibly educational. I’ve gained invaluable practical experience in a field that I have always admired and been interested in. I’m very sad that I’ll have to stop working there when I leave Israel but I’ll take the experience and memory of Haviva and Dr. Almagor with me everywhere I go.

Next Week: We’re going to celebrate Lag B’Omer, a Jewish holiday that is celebrated on the 33rd day of the Omer, which occurs on the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar. We are also going to the final event of Masa, We are going to participate in workshops such as cooking and music and enjoy a show performed by “Strong Black Coffee” one of the most popular artists in Israel today.

Best regards

Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael