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 some of our unforgettable moments from the past week

On Sunday, the students continued with their volunteer work. Nikki Schultz works at Stand With Us and wrote the following about the work, “My internship is cool. I work with Stand With Us on Social Media. Basically I have been making graphics for different events, holidays, memorials etc. and those go up on the Facebook Page!”

We also had our weekly apartment meetings. In the meetings, we discussed the fact that each of last month’s activities had something to do with politics. We asked the students to pick one that they really liked and one that they did not really connect with. Ellis Lewkowicz said, “I really liked going to the Temple Mount because I really understood how they run things and I thought it was interesting how restricted they were with dress code and everything. I also thought it was interesting that the Jewish people were only allowed to be there in a certain amount of time”.

On Monday we followed our regular schedule of volunteer work and then had classes in the afternoon. Coby Bregman said, “I work at Menachem Begin, it is a heritage center. UV came out with a database now so I put whatever in the database and then it sends the information out to different institutions. The goal is to have every piece of information so it is easier to find things. They also want me to work on the translation of their site. I enjoy it very much!”

In the evening, some of the group went to I-Jump. I-Jump is a place with lots of trampolines and those who went had an All-You-Can-Jump experience.

On Tuesday, Israel celebrated Good Deeds Day. On this day, everyone in Israel tries to do something good for someone else. Whether it’s helping someone cross the street or buying a meal for someone, it is important to do something nice for someone in the community. For our good deed, we went to the Keshet Elementary school where we worked in the yard to make it look nicer for the children to play in. Two speakers came for out evening activity, they spoke about the idea of labelling yourself and others and identity. Many people learned that labelling yourself can be a good thing and it makes you a better person and aids self-confidence.

For our weekly field trip we went just outside of Jerusalem to do the hike called Sataf. We learned about the ancient Arab villages that once existed in the area and their ingenuity in accessing the natural water flow. We made our way to a pool that was built many years ago to collect the flowing water. We were very lucky with the weather and it was a beautiful day for a hike. One of the students said that he was finally able to experience the land by foot and it made him feel closer to Jerusalem.

This week in Parsha and Pizza we discussed the Torah portion of Vayikra. This is the third book of the Torah. In the main, it is concerned with the giving of sacrifices. This is not necessarily an easy subject to discuss in our time but Rabbi Marc began the evening by talking about our relationship to animals in general and the distance most of us feel towards animals. In the ancient world people were far closer to animals. They lived with them, worked with them and also ate them. Rabbi Marc explained the 5 different types of sacrifices and looked at the difference between the voluntary sacrifices and the mandatory ones presented in the Torah. Surprisingly the conversation was very involved and people picked their favorite type of sacrifice. At the core of sacrificing is the idea of drawing closer to God. The Hebrew word for sacrifice is Korban – קרבן – which comes from the root word ‘karov’ which means to be near. We all look for ways to draw near to spirituality, to God or to those people we care for and the system of sacrifices allowed our ancestors to find a very meaningful and personal way to express their gratitude or regret, all within a communal framework.