gap year in israel

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April 2022 - passover and first days of spring!
April 2022 - passover and first days of spring!

Shalom Parents, Students, Partners, and Staff,

After a nice, long Spring Break, when our students traveled the country, got together with their families in Israel, or traveled back home, we are back with another exciting newsletter, in which we will tell you about some of our students’ adventures from the past month. Are you ready for it? Because we sure are…scroll down to read it all!

Community seder at rothschild!
Community Seder at Rothschild!
Anyone said mimouna?!
Anyone said Mimouna?!

Our students celebrated Passover in various ways: some visited their families, while others celebrated with their friends and host families here in Israel. Rothschild community students even organized an early ‘Seder,’ right before Spring Break. After they returned, students celebrated Mimouna, a traditional Moroccan holiday that takes place right after Passover and involves a festive, colorful, musical party, along with traditional blessings and dances. But the most important things are the sweets and traditional pastries! It seems like our students really got into the holiday spirit!

Earlier in April, right before the break, as an optional activity, some of our students went on a four-day hike, on a famous trail that is called Yam L’Yam (Sea-to-Sea). Our students traveled by foot from the Sea of Galilee all the way to Achziv Beach on the Mediterranean Sea. They slept in tents, cooked outdoors, navigated, and more. We just LOVE out-of-the-city getaways, don’t you?

Later this month, students commemorated, along with all of Israel, the national memorial days. Our students learned about the Holocaust at Yad Vashem through activities and a ceremony. Our students got to see how the Shoa (the Hebrew word for Holocaust) is perceived and mentioned here in Israel, and they stood in silent reflection at the Tzfira, a siren that is heard all over the country on both memorial days: the Holocaust Memorial Day and the Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror.

A tour of yad vashem
A tour of Yad Vashem
Extreme students skydiving!
One of the groups on the Sea-to-Sea trail
Remember we told you about our special collaboration with pre-military colleges here in Israel? As part of getting our students familiar with Israeli society even more, each community went on a Shabbaton with the Amichai and Aderet pre-military colleges. They were warmly hosted by the Israeli Mechina students, and participated in workshops and sessions, trying to answer questions like: What is my Jewish identity, and how does it relate to my Israeli identity? Which identity do I feel more connected to? The students had some free time to bond with each other and with the Israeli students at the Mechina, experienced Kabbalat Shabbat, and played some board games, in a chill, relaxed Shabbat away from the city.
Jake, raz, alex, and ori from levontin at mechinat aderet
Jake, Raz, Alex, and Ori from Levontin at Mechinat Aderet
Florentin community at amichai pre-military college
Florentin community at Amichai pre-military college

Also in April, our Levontin and Rothschild communities traveled north to the beautiful, magical city of Zefat. They learned about the city’s unique atmosphere, visited famous synagogues, and sensed the holiness of Zefat, one of the most sacred Jewish cities in Israel.

And finally, spring has arrived in the Holy Land! No, not summer yet, still got time for that. 😉 Our students arranged their own sunset and pizza party, welcoming spring, on their extra-cool rooftop! Some of them even revealed their hidden skills as DJs!

Now, have you ever jumped from a plane?! Because our Aardvark Extreme students definitely have. Click here to watch the video!

Orr, joseph, omri, and ori from levontin on the rooftop
Orr, Joseph, Omri, and Ori from Levontin on the rooftop
Extreme students skydiving!
Extreme students skydiving!


Our newsletter wouldn’t be complete without a Spotlight, would it? This time, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Maya Goldberg from our Masa Year of Service program, and Zac Levin from our Tech Track.

Maya, from Texas, volunteers at Ichilov hospital, and she told us about her day-to-day life: “People come to the hospital and don’t know what to do, where to go, and how to get there, [so they need] somebody who talks them through it and helps them get to where they have to be. Sometimes, I even get the pleasure of walking them to their appointment and helping out, getting them something to eat, or just making them as comfortable as possible. The hospital can make people very anxious, so if I can do anything to make it a little easier for them, I love to do so.”

Zac, from London, is interning at Imprint, a social media platform: “My Internship is as a full-stack developer, developing a proprietary advertising system for business use. I used my skills from the Tech Track to teach myself relevant front-end as well as back-end skills. One of the most [educational] tasks has been bug fixing, which has shown me the importance of looking at a much larger portion of the system and understanding how the front- and back-end work as a system. I have enjoyed my time with all the people at my internship and will miss them so much. Coming to the end of my internship I can see how far I have come and how they have made me much better prepared for a job in high tech”.

Zach levin from our tech track at imprint
Zach Levin from our Tech Track at Imprint
Maya goldberg, volunteering at ichilov hospital
Maya Goldberg, volunteering at Ichilov Hospital
It’s goodbye for now, but we will be back next month with a final newsletter, telling you all about our students’ adventures, in their last month here before the semester ends. See you all at the beach! 😎