gap year in israel

Check out our social media to see what our students have been up to this past week!

This week the Aardvark Tel Aviv Community visited two very special places, Jerusalem and Akko. These two ancient cities are full of history and culture, and luckily this past Tuesday they were also full of sun even though it’s almost the end of November.

Apart from our Tuesday Tiyul, this week each Madrich/a ran an activity with their group called “Pesek Zman.” Pesek Zman is a famous delicious Israeli chocolate bar, and the meaning for the words in Hebrew is “Time Out.” The activity was all about taking some time out and reflecting on the fact we are already halfway through the semester. The students got to share what they have achieved and what they are looking to experience in the remaining time this semester. Of course, everyone also got to try the classic Pesek Zman chocolate bar at the end.

This is what Tess Levy wrote about the Pesek Zman activity:

“One of the most formative parts of my Aardvark experience has been the group that I am with. As lucky as I am to be surrounded with such warm and inclusive peers, It is still important to stay positive and reflect in words. This past Monday, Aardvark led myself and other students through “Pesek Zman,” a mid-semester reflection on our time thus far and what is still to come. During the activity, we were asked questions about our own growth and goals on Aardvark and how we related to the other students in the room. I deeply appreciated this opportunity to take a step back from my experience and observe it with clear and open eyes, as I was able to gain a new level of appreciation for what Aardvark has given me, how I have developed into more of an adult, and the experiences that I am so excited to be a part of as the semester and year continue.”

Once again this Tuesday, students could opt-in to a th(INK)! session with Rabbi Feivel. This week’s session touched on many different topics such as the Beit Hamikdash (Temple), Exodus, and Jerusalem’s role in Judaism. It was an open conversation led by the students’ questions and interests.

Ben Maisel wrote about his trip to Jerusalem:

“On Tuesday, for our weekly day trip around the country, we visited Jerusalem. I had an opportunity to do the “Wall Walk” as well as visit the Western Wall. After our comprehensive tour of the Old City, we went to Shuk Machane Yehuda where I ate all sorts of delicious foods ranging from Basher cheese to traditional Georgian dishes. We ended the day by visiting Parliament Hill and the rose garden, where we discussed hot-topic political issues and their impact within the country.”

Visiting theTunisian synagogue in Akko. The synagogue is decorated with millions of mosaics inside which have been manufactured at Kibbutz Eilon.

Malcolm Condon wrote about his visit to Akko:

“This Tuesday, we went to the Old City of Akko, a beautiful place not only because of the ancient history and architecture, but also because of the fact that it’s a beacon of peace. The population is evenly split between Jews and Muslims, and while we were there we saw not only peaceful coexistence and tolerance, but active efforts from both communities to reach out to the other. To be more than tolerant. The city was amazing to walk through, and as we did, we experienced an array of aromas (often strong), beautiful views, the sound of prayer from the mosques, and the flavors of amazing food from the shuk, including probably the best hummus in Israel. Overall, I wish we could have spent more time exploring, and I will definitely be back.”

Faces Of Israel – Neil Lazarus and Iman Abu Sir

On Wednesday night, students tuned in for a session with Neil and Iman to talk about the Israeli Palestinian conflict from a more personal point of view. Iman shared her experience of living in the West Bank, and Neil shared his thoughts on the ongoing situation. The two didn’t hold back; they challenged each other’s opinions and engaged in a heated debate which left everyone with lots of food for thought.

Our Madrich on call this weekend is Shai T.


Shabbat Shalom,