Dear Parents and Future Aardvarkians,
Congratulations! By deciding to spend this year in Israel, you have made a wonderful decision that has the potential to be a life changing experience. It will be an adventure you will never forget.
My name is Natali Basel and I’m the Coordinator for the Jerusalem section of Aardvark Israel. Currently I’m in my final year of study towards a degree in education and psychology, and I live in the holy city of Jerusalem. Before joining the Aardvark staff a year ago, I was a coordinator and madricha (counselor) for groups from USY and Solomon Schechter schools (from Westchester, Chicagoland High School, New Jersey, and Long Island). I am very much looking forward to meeting you and your families.
My staff of talented counselors are looking forward to meeting you as well. They will also will be in touch with you in the coming weeks and throughout the semester.
I’m sure that you are wondering what your the first week on Aardvark will look like. Attached you will find our schedule for the first week of the program. It is filled with orientation activities to help orient you to Israel and the program. Notice that we are going on an overnight hiking trip just two days after you arrive, so please remember to bring with you shoes or sandals for walking in water (not flip-flops!) Also, please be sure to pack appropriate Shabbat clothing for our visit to the Western Wall during your first Shabbat here.
Expect another email from me in the next few days with more information about your volunteering/internship options. When you receive the volunteering booklet, make sure you dedicate the time and energy it deserves so that you can make a thoughtful choice about where you would like to volunteer/intern. It will be a major part of your experience here in Israel.
During the semester, each week I will be sending you the following week’s schedule with information about upcoming activities. You will be able to see for each day the different activities we are enjoying such as classes, day trips and volunteering. I’ll send photos as well of course!
- There will be many highlights throughout the semester. Here are just a few of them to give you another taste of what’s in store for you very soon!
- Trips to the Golan Heights, the Stalagmite and Stalactite Caves, Hevron and more!
- Tour of the Old City including the Temple Mount, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Zedekiah’s Cave
- Environmentalism Seminar at Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava Desert
- Celebrating the holidays in the holy city of Jerusalem
- Spinning through Israel (a great workout and tour of Israel from the seat of a stationary bike!)
And the list goes on and on… We have a great semester planned which I know we’ll all enjoy!
By now, you should have received an online Ulpan (Hebrew) placement test from Ulpan Milah. Please complete the test as soon as possible. If you did not receive the email, please let us know and we will be sure it is resent.
Finally, please note that transcripts are due to the American Jewish University by August 15, 2016 for those who wish to be eligible for college credit (there was a typo on the “transcripts instructions” document which was sent last week. We apologize for the error.)
Looking forward to meeting you in just a few weeks! Feel free to write back to me with any questions.