gap year in israel

July 15, 2021

This week in the Rothschild Community TLV

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Hello Parents and Students, We’re getting close to the end of the semester yet this week we had more amazing experiences. On Sunday, the students had an activity with their Madrichim in which they spoke about different aspects and experiences they had until now and what they are taking with them to the end of the semester. They spoke about connections that formed, about places we traveled too and also had a chance to think about the students they are still interested in knowing and the experiences they still want to have on the time left on the program, both on as individuals and as a group.
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On Monday, the British students had the opportunity to visit Mea Shearim in Jerusalem. We met with a tour guide who showed us around the neighborhood and explained the nuances of the community. Then we visited “bizmax” where we spoke to different members of the Haredi community who were able to benefit from a UJIA funded project that helps educate Haredim and provides them with courses to help them get into work.
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On Monday evening we had an opportunity to experience a part of the city that we don’t experience normally. We had a tour at the new Tel Aviv Central Station and discovered that it’s a “house for the outsiders” as our tour guide mentioned. The Station’s inner halls have become a place of refuge for many ethnic groups living in the city. Contained in its hidden pockets is a tiny Yiddish museum, a Filipino church, a graffiti and street art exhibition, a refugee health center and even a dance rehearsal space for youth. It functions as a safe space for many immigrants and presents the opportunity for inner-community businesses to flourish.
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Zoe Halpern wrote about her experience in the tour:

“Our tour of the Central Bus Station was a tour like no other. From the outside, I expected the seven-story structure to be ordinary. I assumed I would see some buses, a few cafés and fast-food restaurants and waiting areas for all the passengers. Little did I know, the Central Bus Station housed an underground community, full of bustling markets, an art scene and even abandoned areas.

The architecture of the station fascinated me. I learned the building was intentionally designed to confuse passengers so they would spend more time shopping in the markets and shops. This explains the many escalators and ramps leading to the different floors and why I’ve heard stories of people frantically missing their buses. While the bus terminals are only on the 6th and 7th floors, the lower floors are much more complex and help explain the diversity of Israeli society.

Some of the main attractions we were able to see on the lower levels were a Filipino market, two kindergartens, three health clinics, theaters, and a Yiddish book center. I was in awe that there was this hidden subculture within a building that is used by so many Israelis every day. Our tour guide further explained that the central bus station is a haven for many immigrant communities because it is a useful gathering point, and it provides the opportunity to start a new life in Israel by owning shops.

It sounds strange to say a bus station helped shape my perspective of Israel. However, this building is much more than just a place to catch a bus to Jerusalem. It is the epitome of a melting pot of cultures, and it represents the life many minority groups live as “outsiders” in Israeli society.”

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On Tuesday we set off to our last overnight on the program. We started the day at Nachal Kziv. The Nahal Kziv and Monfort Fortress trail is known to be one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Israel. With a river that flows all year round, a flowing spring, a historical Crusader fortress on a mountainside and lots panoramic green views; this was a great and fun way to start the trip.
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After a great hike we headed back to our Hostel for some time off and dinner and then we headed towards Rosh Hanikra for a night tour with lanterns. Rosh Hanikra is an incredible geological creation at the farthest point north on Israel’s Mediterranean Coastline in the Western Galilee region. The grottoes and caves at Rosh Hanikra are the results of thousands of years of the power of the sea, and after a short cable car ride down the cliff face, we explored these incredible formations.


On Wednesday morning we left our Hostel and started the day with a short hike at Nachal Yechiam. We walked through the forest and enjoyed our time until we arrived in the interesting village Klil. We hopped on our buses and continued towards Akko. After some free time in the city, we visited The Hospitaller Fortress which is one of the most impressive sites in Akko. The Hospitallers, also known as the Order of the Knights of Saint John, were a military order of warrior monks created in the time of the Crusades. The Hospitaller Order helped pilgrims on their journey to the Holy Land, providing them with protection and aid. The fortress was the Order’s headquarters in Akko.

After that we continued the tour to the Templars tunnel. The tunnel is 150 meters long and it extends from the Templars fortress in the west to the city’s port in the east. It crosses Pisan quarter and in the past, served as a strategic underground passageway that connected the palace to the port. we finished the tour with the great view of Akko”s port.

After a great couple of days up north we left back to Tel Aviv, tired but happy,

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Next week will be our last full week of the program. We are looking forward to have another week filled with exciting experiences and memories that will last forever.

This weekend Yoav will be on call.

Have a great weekend,