gap year in israel
Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael
Shalom Parents and Students! 
Another exciting week has come to an end here in Israel, filled with new, meaningful adventures. Our seminars in Kibbutz Ketura started with the Jerusalem community traveling down South (and we mean really South, near Eilat!) for three days of kibbutz life in the desert. The seminar started with a tour around the Kibbutz, getting to know the unique lifestyle based on socialism and community. The students learned about coexistence in Ketura, which combines both religious and secular members, and the Arava Institue for Environmental Studies. Our students participated in a panel involving three of the students in the school – an Israeli, a Palestinian, and an American, who told about their experience at the Arava Institute and answered the students’ questions.
Pool time at kibbutz ketura
Pool time at Kibbutz Ketura
Chillin' by the pool
Chillin' by the pool
In the evening, the students had a barbecue dinner by the pool and went in for a swim! On the second day of the seminar, the students chose from a variety of activities, including a morning hike in Nachal Ketura, an oil pastel session in the desert, mud building, and a tour of a sustainable village. Just before lunch, workshops and panels were offered, covering different topics, including: Religion and State in Israel – where they heard the story of a female rabbi in Israel, and her ongoing struggle to recieve acknowledgment for her work; Entrepreneurship in the Kibbutz, where they learned about how to create in the most socialist community in Israel. The students asked questions and learned about the sometimes complex life in Israel from people who live and deal with these issues on a daily basis. Later, the students went sliding in Kasui Sand Dunes and took some time for self reflection in the desert. On our last morning at Kibbutz Ketura, students were able to participate in a morning bike ride from the Kibbutz, along part of the Jordanian border, and back. Alex Sandler from the U.K wrote about one of the experiences he had on the seminar: “A lot of people would hate to wake up at 5:30 for a hike through the dessert mountains, but those people have clearly never done it in the mountains near Kibbutz Ketura. Standing at a mountain top and staring at the valley glowing in the rising sun, we felt like the luckiest people alive, surrounded by beautiful landscapes and wonderful people. Every one of us who went finished the hike feeling accomplished, and that we had found a little spot of paradise.”
Liora and hannah at kasui sand dunes
Liora and Hannah at Kasui sand dunes
Alex and elliot after the morning ride, tired but satisfied!
Alex and Elliot after the morning ride, tired but satisfied!
Arava institute student panel
Arava Institute student panel
The boys at the morning hike
The boys at the morning hike
While our Tel Aviv community students still have two weeks before they go to Kibbutz Ketura, this week, they traveled to the Carmel Mountain for their weekly Tuesday Tiyul. Also this week, they toured the central bus station in Tel Aviv, and got to meet some people who live and work in that area, while talking to them about the complex situation that has been going there for the past few years.
Levontin community at the central station tour
Levontin community at the Central Station tour
Carmel mountain
Carmel Mountain
Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael
Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael
Look at these smiling faces! We know they will not soon forget this week’s adventures, and nor will we!