gap year in israel

Jerusalem Weekly – Feb 4, 2021

Jerusalem weekly – feb 4, 2021

Dear Parents & Students,

In such a time of uncertainty in the world, it is important to remember the good things we have. I think we can all guess what the highlight of this week was: getting vaccinated!

On Monday, we were notified in the afternoon of an opportunity for most of our Jerusalem students to get vaccinated for free and without added insurance coverage through a drive which was conducted by the IDF’s Homefront Command in a neighborhood in the northern suburbs of Jerusalem. The students received their first dose of the vaccine and are doing well, aside from some soreness at the injection site.

Jerusalem weekly – feb 4, 2021
Darby Shaw recieving her vaccine at Magen David Adom
Jerusalem weekly – feb 4, 2021
Alexandra Friedlander feeling good after getting vaccinated
Jerusalem weekly – feb 4, 2021

This week, we had the opportunity to volunteer with an organization that has been helping needy families in Jerusalem for nearly 20 years.
The association distributes groceries and cooked food to about 130 families every week.
We were happily greeted by other volunteers upon arrival. During our time there, we created food packages for families in need. We included tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, lemons, and apples. This was such an incredible experience!

-Noa Agatstein

For our Tuesday activity, the Madrichim created their own version of “The Amazing Race.” The goal of the game was to introduce us to as many interesting points throughout Jerusalem as possible.
We were assigned to different teams and had to solve clues leading us to different locations within our 1,000 meters (we love lockdown).
The activity was very creative, competitive, and extremely fun. Our team won. Team orange forever!


-Lexi Aronin

Jerusalem weekly – feb 4, 2021
Jerusalem weekly – feb 4, 2021
Jerusalem weekly – feb 4, 2021
Jerusalem weekly – feb 4, 2021
Jerusalem weekly – feb 4, 2021

Every week, we have the opportunity to learn in depth about components of Israeli society and culture in Faces of Israel. This week we discussed PTSD and how it impacts the lives of Israelis who experience trauma during their IDF service. A video showed Israelis who suffer from PTSD explaining how their “invisible disability” affects their daily lives. I was surprised that despite the trauma, many of them said they would still encourage their children to join the IDF, and I was in awe of the overall sense of pride in their role in making Israel a safe place for Jewish people.

-Alex Garrow

Despite the Covid guidelines, we were able to meet for (th)INK! in person again this week! We explored the idea of the Ten Commandments from this week’s Torah reading, and we looked for deeper meanings. We also stayed an extra 45 minutes discussing the movements in Judaism and their different beliefs. It seems like a great start to the semester!

-Rabbi Fivel

Jerusalem weekly – feb 4, 2021

This Monday, we were called over in the afternoon and whisked away to a vaccination centre in the Israeli West Bank Settlement of Giv’at Ze’ev. Little did we know, but Aardvark Israel had just been informed that there was availability at a pop-up centre based in a local school, where even non-citizens could get vaccinated.
It was a whirlwind of emotions and experiences. Upon arriving to the testing centre with spirits high, we were disappointed to find out that their system was done and they weren’t taking anyone; from then on, it was a waiting game. The minutes turned to hours, and to our collective relief, they eventually fixed their issue. We scrambled to get to the front of the line. I was fortunate enough to get vaccinated, but only just. Behind me, an entire yeshiva was left disappointed at the realisation that the centre had run out of vaccines; the rush had been more than worth it.

I am overjoyed to be vaccinated. It feels like a burden has been lifted off of me, and I hope to be able to travel and see my loved ones as soon as possible.
My second dose is in three weeks, and I could not be more excited for it.

-Josh Abrahams


This week, we started classes again, with lessons on Zionism, Gender and Judaism, Hebrew. and the Arab/Israeli Conflict.
“We had our first Hebrew class today, and it was very exciting to get back into Ulpan. We got to know our new teacher and we reviewed material we learned last semester. I was definitely a little bit rusty, but I’m looking forward to improving my Hebrew this year!”

-Tobie Bertisch

Jerusalem weekly – feb 4, 2021

Next week, we will continue with classes and internships, learn to create a painting using embroidery, participate in a unique Alice in Jerusalem (Wonderland) activity and an IDF values Peula (activity) with the Madrichim, and more! Stay tuned for this educational yet fun week!

Our counselor on call this weekend is Omer.


Shabbat Shalom,
Natali