Shalom, my name is Jasper Newman. I’m 18 years old and currently living in Florentine, Tel Aviv. Born and raised in Rochester, New York, I’ve had a strong involvement in Judaism at a Modern Orthodox level for as long as I can remember. I’ve been blessed to grow up in the loving Jewish Community of the Greater Rochester area and to receive a one of a kind Jewish education at Hillel Community Day School from grades K-8 until I graduated and went on to public school for high school. It was in public school where I slowly began to drift from my Jewish connections and started to question my Jewish identity. Throughout my high school years, it was my relationships and the influence of my supportive family, best friends, NCSY, and community that kept me tied to my Jewish roots and they are a major reason I made the best choice of my life, to spend a year in Israel.
Before hopping on the plane to Israel, I really didn’t have a clear picture as to what I was getting myself into. I made a last minute decision with my best friend to defer from university and sign up for Aardvark. I came with only one goal in mind, to grow, learn and explore, and with time and patience, I find myself having new perspectives and maturing.
I’m interning at the Duco Company, a consulting firm, where I have the pleasure of expanding my knowledge of the business world by carrying out valuable research. Plus, the view from the 26th floor makes it all worth it!
One of the factors I appreciate most being an Aardvarkian is the format of the program. With a structured weekly schedule packed with internships, classes, travelling, and bonding, I love that there is also plenty of laid-back leisure time to spend how you choose. Aardvark truly sets up a platform for us to grow into the people we want to be and gain valuable knowledge of what the “adult” life holds for us.
In my free time, I enjoy hanging at the beach, practicing my Hebrew, connecting and socializing with new people, and trying new hobbies.
One of the many highlights so far has to be our most recent three-day Tiyul to Kibbutz Ketura. On this Kibbutz, in the desert near Eilat, we all got a taste of what it is like to disconnect from the modern world and place the emphasis on community, interacting with members while learning more about their lifestyle choices, and relaxing in the sun spending time with our Jerusalem counterparts.