gap year in israel

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Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael
Shalom Parents and Students! 

This week was busy as usual, but mostly for our Tel Aviv students, who traveled to Kibbutz Ketura, in the Arava, near Eilat. The students experienced some really meaningful moments, in a three-day-long seminar, that included workshops, hikes, community activities, and group bonding activities. The students learned about the Kibbutz lifestyle and what it’s like to live in a collective community, where the members share almost everything. They learned about group decision making, and they role played assemblies, just like Kibbutz members do. 
Learning about group decisions and the collective lifestyle
Learning about group decisions and the collective lifestyle
Ellie and aidan playing their guitars during the kumsitz
Ellie and Aidan playing their guitars during the Kumsitz
On the second day of the seminar, the students chose an activity – from mud building to a morning hike or drawing with water paints, in the relaxing desert. The students then joined different panels on topics such as peacebuilding, entrepreneurship in the Kibbutz, and others – introducing the different aspects of life in Israel. In the evening, the students had a Kumsitz – dinner by the bonfire right by the Kibbutz. They played the guitar, had smores for dessert, and even baked pitas on a tava, just like we do it in Israel! The students also traveled to Kasui Sand Dunes, and went through self-reflection activities, diving deep into the experiences they have been going through so far in Israel. 
On Thursday, the students had the option to choose bike riding at sunrise or painting in the desert, enjoying some last relaxing moments away from the city.
Hiking in nachal arugot
Hiking in Nachal Arugot
Gabi and the guys!
Gabi and the guys!
While the Tel Aviv students were at Ketura, our Jerusalem students traveled to Nachal Arugot – one of the most beautiful hikes in Israel – and to the Dead Sea, which is the lowest place on earth! They seem like they enjoyed it 🙂
Enjoying the beautiful view of ein lifta
Enjoying the beautiful view of Ein Lifta
Max, robby, and jaime trying out some new technologies
Max, Robby, and Jaime trying out some new technologies
Selah, our Jewish enrichment track, visited the Lifta natural spring next to the entrance of Jerusalem. They touched the water, picnicked, had a Bracha party, and explored the area, which is filled with fig almond and olive trees. The topics discussed included ancient uses for the springs approaching Jerusalem and connections between the Torah and the produce of the land of Israel.
Our Big Idea students visited a company named Pico Kids, which runs tech-based afternoon activities for children in the Talpiyot neighborhood of Jerusalem. The purpose of the company is to give children and youth hands-on experiences and 21st-century  skill acquirement, on topics like science, technology, mathematics, engineering, and entrepreneurship. The students also tried their hand at 3D printing and laser cutting!  
Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael
Cooper, Daniel, and Sam look like they’re ready for another exciting week 🙂