Spotlight on Students
Student of the Week – Gaby Sugarman
My name is Gaby Sugarman from Long island, New York ! I’m spending my Fall Semester in the very groovy and gorgeous town of Florentine, Tel Aviv.
I decided to come on Aardvark Israel because I always had love for finding myself and Jewish identity through travel and I knew Aardvark could help me do just that. I remember before coming going to a meeting for Aardvark learning about it and leaving knowing this was the program for me and it truly is. I heard about Aardvark through some of my older Youth Group friends that went on the program in previous years! I’m so grateful I was able to find something as amazing as Aardvark! What has surprised me so far about Israel is how warm and welcoming everyone is. This is my first time away from home for the High Holidays. But everyone, has been amazing host to me and made me feel just at home.
So far, I have had so many favorite parts of the programs from trying almost every coffee shop in Florentine, to the High Holidays and of course my Internship. The coffee shops in Florentine are my favorite morning wake up spot because, everyone is so friendly and it puts a great start to my day.
My goal is to try something from every coffee shop in Florentine. Yom Kippur was so special because the road that once filled with cars (and everyone beeping! It’s a good alarm clock!) was now so silent and blissful. Kids filled the street riding bikes and playing. But something special was seeing a little boy being taught how to ride a bike by his dad. The best part of Israel so far is my internship! I work at Beit Dror the youth shelter for LGBTQ+ teens that need a safe and at home atmosphere. My favorite part of being there is being able to spend time with the kids because they truly inspirational and so strong. I love the vibe there and it makes me so happy!
If I could give a few tips to a future Aardvarkians, it would be to step out of your comfort zone, be adventurous, and be open minded. These three things are the most important aspect of my trip so far. Being Adventurous because you should always go explore and open your eyes to new and interesting things around you! Step out of your comfort zone because although things can get tough at times just remember, everything will be ok. Be open minded because although you may not think you’ll love the activity you never what’s ahead, so give it a try.
I’m looking forward to most in my year here is meeting more people and experiencing all Israel has to offer. Israel is so amazing and so unique in so many ways, I’m beyond happy I made this decision to come and I’m so excited for the rest of my year in israel!