gap year in israel

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

It was a great week here in Tel Aviv. Like last week, half of the community went to Yeruham and the other drove to Kiryat Gat. Both of the trips focused on Israeli marginalized communities in the periphery of Israel, the struggles they faced in the past, as well as their experience in today’s Israeli society. In addition to the trips, we had a Hanukiot (Menorah) making workshop, the first candle lighting, and the Sea Sports trip to Eilat. On Wednesday, we heard from Rotem Cohen Kahlon, an activist from the periphery, who spoke about her experience as a Moroccan-Jewish woman in Israel.

Robin Yager wrote about her experience in Kiryat Gat:

“This week on our Tuesday trip we went to Kiryat Gat, which is in a mountain area. We explored many caves in the mountains. One of them was a cave full of pigeon homes. The walls were carved out into triangle shapes. We climbed on our hands and knees though one of the caves. Then we visited an Ethiopian village and helped them build huts out of mud. It was really interesting to learn about the Ethiopian culture”

This week our Sea Sports group went on a trip to Eilat, which is considered to be a “Tourist Island” within Israel. It was a great trip, full of activities both on land and in the water.
Ash Swidler had this to say about the experience:
“If you had told me two months ago that I would be relaxing at a hotel pool in Eilat or scuba diving with dolphins, I would have laughed in your face. But after waiting with baited breath to begin our sea sports adventure, this week, it finally happened.
On Tuesday morning, a group of 20 students (all of whom had signed up for sea sports) went to Eilat to have the time of their lives – literally.
Upon arriving there, we were greeted by the beautiful port, and were split into two groups; the first group enjoyed a lovely boat ride, went tubing, and snorkeled. The others explored the Eilat area – complete with boutique stores, shopping malls, and open restaurants! After an afternoon of outdoor adventures, we checked into our hotel and prepared for a truly spectacular night…
Everyone convened in the lobby and took a brief stroll to an old ship. An evening cruise was in store for us as we took in the twinkling city lights of Eilat. As Preston Sharkey said eloquently, ‘The boat vibes were immaculate.’
Whilst our night ended after the boat trip, our crazy adventure didn’t stop on Tuesday! We woke up on Wednesday morning and hit the open road for a Jeep trip. The wind was blowing in our faces as we drove along the Egyptian border and delved deeper into the dunes of the desert.
After that, we soaked up the rays of Eilat’s fiery sun, trying to make the most of the gorgeous weather, relaxing by the pool and munching on a cheeky chicken schnitzel. It was time to go scuba diving AND kayaking!
We split into small groups and dove to depths of up to six meters. Together with our instructors, we experienced the best reefs that Israel has to offer, with needlefish, lionfish, and other exotic creatures. Our view of the sea was still far from over as we stared beneath us from our glass-bottom kayaks.
In the evening, some people went ice skating whilst others enjoyed a run along the port before the night’s sushi feast.
After what some may refer to as ‘Sea Sports’ Last Supper,’ an evening of puzzling problems awaited us. As per coronavirus restrictions, we split into two teams and got solving! Unfortunately, my team lost, but nevertheless it was an extremely enjoyable last night in Eilat.
For our final day, we went to ‘water stations’ where a few young Russians from another Masa program filled our morning schedule to the brim with a plethora of water activities. From racing one massive paddle board (with ten people) against another to learning how to windsurf, it was a joyous occasion for everyone and the best way to bring the trip to a close. Some have gone back to Tel Aviv but others have chosen to explore their romance with the beautiful city of Eilat and stay for the weekend.
Ultimately, the trip has been one my highlights from this semester and on behalf of everyone, I wanted to truly thank Shayun for being the most amazing Madricha to all of us!
Happy Channukah and Shabbat Shalom.”
Our Madrich on call this weekend is Ilan.


Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hanukkah,