gap year in israel

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

Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael

This week, one of highlights was The Amazing Race. Each apartment had the chance to compete in the race. There were many tasks and challenges, both inside and outside of the apartment. After a long day of competition, the boys of Mizrachi won first place!


Another highlight of this week was My Jewish Pride Museum. The Madrichim and Madrichot set up a Museum at our gathering area. It was full of references to anything that could be a part of one’s Jewish identity, including history, religion, modern day achievements, Jewish celebrities, values, and so much more. The museum had texts, pictures, videos made especially by the Jerusalem staff etc. After walking through the museum, students delved into a discussion about what Jewish Pride means to them, each sharing their perspective.

Lauren Breakstone wrote about her exeprience in the museum:

“On Tuesday, we went to the office for an activity called, “My Jewish Pride Museum.” I didn’t really know what to expect. I walked into the room and found myself staring at walls covered in pictures. Pictures from the Holocaust, pictures from Israeli history, and pictures of Jewish celebrities. At first I didn’t really understand the correlation between all the sections. I walked around the room, glanced over each photo, read each text, and remembered this is where our history comes from. Honestly, with COVID I don’t know the last time I was in a museum, so being in a room that felt like a museum was an amazing feeling of nostalgia, so props to our counselors for that. I’ve always appreciated museums, whether it is an art museum or history museum, I believe you can always walk away having learned one or two small things. My group dove into an interesting discussion about where and how we feel the most Jewish, and we also touched on how interesting it is that so many Jewish musuems focus on the Holocaust. It was refreshing to see this “museum” had different sections, as it encouraged us to talk about and think about many different topics. As we all know, the Holocaust was part of history, and as Holocaust Rememberance Day just passed, we shall continue to share stories and ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. I thoroughly enjoyed this educational activity.”

Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael
Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael

Internship In The Spotlight
Avi Shapiro – King Geroge Lamps

“Hi all! My name is Avi Shapiro and for this semester, my internship is at a small company called King George Lamps. Every day, I join Choni at his studio, and together we work on building the company. We just had our lamps displayed on a TV show and now everyday we’re building custom lamps for customers around the world. Just yesterday we had two orders, one from the US and one from the UK! I love my internship because I get to work in person every day with Choni, building the lamps, working on the website, and the best part, playing with his super cute dog! I get to help with every step of the process! If you want to purchase a lamp, which I absolutely recommend, you can find them at!

Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael
Sophie Harris wrote about participating in The Amazing Race:

“Coming in second place was quite disappointing… But the amount of fun my roommates and I had made up for it. Just a few of the challenges that took place included creative themed group pictures, cooking exquisite dishes, dancing and singing our hearts out during the Shazam competition, and accidentally running across town in attempts to tag the counselor, concluding our Amazing Race. We put our heart, sweat, blood and tears into this competition and ended the race with the best reward of all… apartment dinner with our beloved staff Shay❤️”
Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael
Danielle Hodes shared her thoughts and feelings about her apartment and the move to Tel Aviv:

“As we transition into the second semester of Aardvark, refreshed excitement fills the air at the change of scenery and people who are hoping to improve from last semester. The first week in Tel Aviv has been a tumultuous time; the surprise of finding out who my new roommates are, moving in, and making time for my friends living in separate buildings has been an adjustment I am learning to adapt. As for my new roommates and apartment, I could not be happier. Living with four kind and uplifting girls has made my apartment an extremely positive environment to live in and we love cooking together, working out together, and simply enjoying each other’s company. My roommates have been essential in making positive changes to my living habits. They have inspired me to be more clean, healthy, and independent. Last semester, for meals, I survived off of eating potato chips and M&M’s for dinner or ordering out. I was too lazy to cook for myself and whenever I went food shopping, I never knew what to buy. Seeing my roommates cook nutritious dishes for themselves every night inspired me to buy similar groceries or recreate my mother’s dishes. As an apartment, we love cooking Shabbat dinners together and having a proper Shabbat. My roommate Carly never fails to bake a delicious challah and we all contribute to the meal. Even on nights when we cook individual meals, we still come together at the table and enjoy our food in each other’s company.
Living in Marcolet, the more social building, has been an amazing bonding experience for all of the girls in the building. Just on my floor live all of my best girl friends and we go in and out of each other’s apartments as if we live together. Now whenever I leave my apartment, I have a group of girls just down the hall and upstairs to tag along with me to watch the sunset, buy coffee, or go on late-night scooter rides around Florentin. I cannot wait to see what else Tel Aviv has in store once lockdown ends and we can fully enjoy the city.”
Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael
Making Rogelach
Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael
The Amazing Race
Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael
Marko 2 in 3rd place
We asked Howie Scharlin to write about his move from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv:

“I’ve been to Israel many times before Aardvark. Most summers, I would come visit my family in Tel Aviv. My version of Israel in my head was just one city, some desert, and that was it. Being in Jerusalem for 4 months was truly like being in a foreign country. Although I came to love Jerusalem, it didn’t feel natural in the beginning. That is not the case for Tel Aviv. I feel at home here right off the bat. Florentin is an amazing neighborhood, and I truly feel like a local. Nothing beats having a morning coffee on my balcony looking down at the street.”

We are very excited to start classes, uplan, and chugim next week!

Below is next week’s schedule:
Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael
Our Madricha on call this weekend is Danielle.

Shabbat Shalom,
Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael