gap year in israel

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Dear Parents,

The final week has come to an end! While we are excited that the students will be continuing on their individual paths, it is still hard to say goodbye. We had an amazing final week filled with reflective activities and last-times. Many of the students are in the process of moving to Tel Aviv for the next semester while others are on their flights back home for the winter break and their next adventure.

So, for the last time this semester, allow me to tell you about our week:

On Sunday afternoon, we met in the Ulam and baked cookies for the students to take to their internships as a goodbye present. The students also began the arduous process of cleaning their apartments, returning borrowed items and packing their bags.

Monday was the final day of internships and volunteering. The students said goodbye to their mentors, wrote thank you letters to the people they worked with, and received reference letters from their bosses. We received many calls from the different workplaces complementing and praising our students for their work.

In the evening, each Madrich took his/her students for their last activity together. Before eating, every Madrich reviewed the experience and journey of the past semester with their students, and each student had the opportunity to share what he/she learned and accomplished. Afterwards Maia took her students to the Ulam where they enjoyed a hummus dinner all the way from Abu Gosh! Gilad and his students went to Japanika Sushi where they reminisced about the semester. Shalhevet and her students went to a restaurant called Pinati, where they had a tasty dinner, told stories and shared laughs. 

At the end of the evening, each Madrich presented their students with a goodbye gift and thanked them for the incredible semester they shared. A very touching moment was when the students gave their counsellors goodbye letters thanking them in return for their guidance throughout this semester. 

The Jerusalem & Tel Aviv students met up today for the final Tuesday Tiyul of the Semester. We gathered at the Yitzhak Rabin Center. The Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv weaves the history of the State of Israel through the life story of one of its most devoted sons. In fact, it is the only official memorial dedicated to this monumental man. Yitzhak Rabin, born in 1922, grew up alongside the State of Israel. The museum makes it clear that both the State and Rabin had their ups and downs, moments of glory, and a fair share of problems. One of the newest museums in Israel, the Yitzhak Rabin Center brings together a piece of history and modern technology by integrating sensor-activated audio guides. The museum really consists of three main sections, the inner corridor, the outer corridor, and the audio guide. The outer corridor tells the story of Yitzhak Rabin’s life: who he was, the positions he held, the problems he faced and the decisions he made. Every so often, a pathway to the inner corridor appears leading you through the story of Israel at the same point in time. To add further context, each outer corridor features important news snippets from around the world. Along the way, our audio guide’s sensors activated music, speeches, or news broadcasts that complement the visual exhibit.

After exploring the museum and then enjoying a beautiful view of Tel Aviv at sunset, the students sat in groups with the counselors, and looked at posters created by art students that depicted what Israel would be like at 100 years old, in 2048. In addition, because it is the end of the semester, the students discussed their connection with Israel and how it has changed over the past 4 months. We then headed for a very tasty dinner at a restaurant in Jaffa called ‘Doctor Shakshuka’. After eating dinner, we heard two speeches. One from a student from Tel Aviv, and another from Jerusalem’s very own Saul Barnett. Saul spoke about his experience on Aardvark and how much he has learned and grown from the program. Although the majority of us are continuing in Tel Aviv next semester, there are a few who will not be, and this was an emotional night where we had the opportunity to say goodbye to all the friends we made from both cities and to say thank you to the staff for all they have done for us.

On Wednesday, the students began the day with cleaning, dusting, and packing. The apartments have to be returned in tiptop condition for next semester’s students. In the evening, we met in the office for dinner and shared memories and stories from the semester. 

On Thursday morning, the students said goodbye to their apartments and to us. We then sent each student off to his/her destination – Tel Aviv, America, Europe, Australia, and more.

We are lucky to have had the privilege to be a part of the students’ journey here in Israel. Thank you for your cooperation, your support, and for sending us your kids! We are always happy to see past students again and if you are ever in Israel drop by to say hello.

Wishing you an amazing winter break and holiday season,


Click here to see our Program Video