gap year in israel

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

Dear Parents,

Here are this week’s highlights:

On Sunday night we went to an Israeli basketball game. Hapoel Jerusalem versus the Galil Gilboa. For many of us it was the first basketball game we had been to in Israel and it was quite an experience. What made it even better was that HaPoel won!!!! Donna Shashoua said, “I loved seeing basketball being played in a different country and seeing how into the game the Israelis get. It was crazy! One guy even got carried off the court! I really loved that before the game we all sang HaTikvah together.”

On Tuesday morning, we met with a woman named Shlomit from the organization ‘Women for Peace’, who guided us in an activity called “Pieces for Peace”. The goal of the activity was to create messages about peace on a piece of fabric. I was surprised to see how creative all of our students were. After the activity, Shlomit took all the individual pieces of fabric and put them together with other pieces created by other schools and programs all around Israel. The goal is to create one giant tapestry from all of the fabrics that will connect Ramallah to Jerusalem, and will be a symbol of peace between Arabs and Jews. Ben Oken said, “I loved taking a piece in the bigger picture of creating peace in the Middle East. I can really say that I am a contributor to the peace process. Because of me, there will now be a piece.”

On Tuesday afternoon, we went on a Graffiti Tour in the neighborhood of Nahlaot in Jerusalem and learned all about the city’s fabulous street art. Through the art we understood more about the political situation in the country and the different opinions of the people in this diverse city. Sammy Kepecs said, “The graffiti was so colorful and vivid. It was so beautiful to see art on the streets of Jerusalem and hear the stories and history behind the graffiti.” We also got to know one of the most interesting neighborhoods in the city – Nahlaot.

On Tuesday evening, we met with Shinshinim, a group of Israeli youth the same age as the students. Shinshinim have completed high school and are get to join the army, they do a year of national service all over the world. A form of gap year. We played an icebreaker with them and then split into groups to talk and learn about them and what they do. In return, they asked us questions about ourselves, and things they should know about going abroad. It was so interesting to meet Israelis of a similar age and learn that they also have a gap year. Chava Werner said, “Shinishim, they’re just like us!”

Internship in the Spotlight: by Abby Hockstein

This semester I have had the amazing opportunity to intern at the Tower of David Museum. Working in the PR office, I have met some incredible people and completed tasks I never thought possible for an intern with no previous experience in public relations. What I love about my internship is how hands-on it is, on a typical day I do so much more than desk work and coffee runs. Whether it’s guiding Trump’s Evangelical advisory board around the museum, being interviewed by a Taiwanese news crew, or meeting with the former Israeli ambassador to London, every day is something completely new and exciting. I’ve really surprised myself with how adaptable I have become, and this internship has made me realize that PR might be a good field for me to pursue in the future. Working at the Tower of David Museum has been such an incredible experience and I can truly say that I enjoy going to work every day!

This week in Parsha and Pizza we learnt about the Torah portion of Tzav. It continued the theme that we began last week of sacrifices and the temple. This week we focused our attention on the Biblical prohibition on eating blood. Rabbi Marc led a lively introduction where he surveyed the position of blood in human culture and history. We took in vampires and bloodlines, leeches, cocktails and idioms before zooming in on Judaism. We noticed the irony that for many centuries, blood libels have been thrown at Jewish communities and yet the Torah explicitly tells us to not eat blood. We connected this to Pesach and the blood of the paschal lamb that was daubed on the doorposts (giving us the origin of our Mezuzahs) and we also mentioned the blood of Brit Milah as only circumcised Jews could eat of the lamb. We also spoke of the blood of the first plague in Egypt. And that was just the introduction! Rabbi Marc then gave the group some insights into why blood is banned – primarily because of the connection between the power of life that blood symbolizes and the respect we are meant to have towards life itself.

Next week we are going to learn how to navigate in the field, and other useful information that will serve us when we are camping and traveling during the spring break.

All the Best and Sabbath Shalom