gap year in israel

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My name is Tova Brocco, and I am your basic American Jewish girl. I grew up in a very religious Jewish community in Lakewood, New Jersey, but now I live in South Bend, Indiana with my mom and my siblings. My decision to come on Aardvark’s program was not a hard one. Seminary was my first choice but because of my religious background, I was not accepted. I am incredibly happy to be here where there is no judgement about levels of religiousness.

Apart from that, Aardvark has really showed me how to be me. It’s shown me the ups and downs of living without parents and with other people. I’ve had to think of more than myself, and I’ve made some amazing friends. But, my favorite part of Aardvark is Selah. Selah is a religious track inside of Aardvark that is supposed to help our small group identify what kind of Jews we want to be. Personally, I have a very strong connection to Hashem, and my past has given me lots of the tools I need to study Torah, but we learn new things every day in Selah and I love learning.

At this very moment, I am on a bus ride from a Druz village, and I find it incredible that Aardvark takes time to teach us about other religions, including Christianity and Islam. We have visited monasteries, mosques, temples, synagogues, and learned about all of them while we are there. Aardvark is not a regular gap year program, it’s so much more. I am beyond happy to be here.