gap year in israel

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Dear Parents

We have had a week full of adventures! Here is a summary of them:

Weekly UpdatesOnce a month I meet with the students for some “date” time with me. I do this so that I can hear some of their views and requests for the coming month. I like to know what the students are interested in and to explain the upcoming activities. Afterwards we met with a representative from the Gift of Life Foundation. Gift of Life is a public bone marrow and blood stem cell registry headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida. The foundation facilitates transplants for children and adults suffering from life-threatening illnesses including leukemia, lymphoma, other cancers and genetic diseases. Julia Shapiro said “It really put life in perspective”

Hagai took his boys to the “Ibex Valley” to hold this week’s apartment meeting. It is an absolutely gorgeous place in the middle of the city and unique as it has an extremely high number of ibex considering its size. The park is only a ten minute walk from the apartment and we arrived there around 4 pm. It was a lovely day full of sunshine and warmth. We brought a backpacking stove and we made ourselves black Israeli coffee with cookies and talked about the past few weeks of the semester. The students had a beautiful time and it made me realize how important it is to take the students outdoors. Something about being in the wild make them feel more connected to the land. In conclusion we had a great time and we decided that we are going to be doing it more often in the future.

Tuesday siyurOn the Tuesday siyur we went to a neighborhood near our home called Mishkanot Shaananin. The students were amazed by the fact that they never been there before, especially considering its beauty. Our guide Ariel is an actress and she acted out different people that have lived in the neighborhood from its beginning until recent times. It was a very creative tour and the students learned all about the different communities that make up Jerusalem. After the tour the staff surprised the students with a BBQ in Gan Hapaamon. We were very lucky with the weather, so we just enjoyed being under the sun. Adam Acker said that it was one of the best surprises this semester.

On the military track this week we started our navigation workshop. Rotem, from Tel-Aviv, came to teach the students the basics of navigating. It was the first class of three and at the end of the workshop the students will go and navigate the area where all the soldiers do their first navigation.

Parsha and PizzaIn this week’s Parsha and Pizza, we discussed the Torah portion of Vayakhel. We read how Moshe gathered everyone together to tell them about Shabbat. This raised the question of why Moshe had to interrupt the building of the Mishkan to tell them about Shabbat, especially considering that the people were told about Shabbat whilst wandering in the desert and when receiving the Ten Commandments. The answer is that the people were so busy building the Mishkan, a huge national project, that they were at risk of forgetting God and losing perspective so Moshe needed to remind them. We also learned that Shabbat is even more important than building the Mishkan and this is the source for the list of 39 creative actions (Melachot) that are prohibited on Shabbat.

Next week-we are going to the Abu Ghosh neighborhood just outside of Jerusalem to eat some of the best hummus in Israel. We are also planning a wine and cheese tasting next week (put together entirely by two of our students on the culture committee).