gap year in israel

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Shalom Parents!

Today is the final day of the month of March, one of the program’s more intense months. Why? Because it was “Breakout” month on Aardvark. At the beginning of the month, now that the students have been here for a while and have a better understanding of what they hope to achieve with their time here in Israel, each student took the time to sit with a madrich and plan the rest of the semester. As part of the process each madrich asked their students to create a challenge for themselves for the month that will express the essence of energies which begin to spread at the beginning of spring.

Each of the students chose a different challenge such as: learning how to cook and make an impressive dinner for the whole apartment, asking out a girl that they like, initiating a cool project in their internship etc.

The results from our crazy month were amazing! 90% of the group actually stood up to the challenge. Our offices and apartments were flooded with productive energies.

Yesterday the staff marked the end of the month with a ceremony that included a beautiful gallery with “Breakout” pictures of students, “Breakout” performances from students, an extraordinary slideshow (made by Staci Pincowitz) and in order to respect the event, some wine and cheese.

Among the performances was something truly amazing and unusual from Mike Nikulin and Jake Wisotzky, Adam Poisner read a song he wrote for the event and there was an improvisation show from The Improv Group managed by our madrich Avi (the group meets every Sunday after the apartment inspections).

There is so much more I want to share about our crazy month but I’m writing an email with updates and not a book… I think it is important to talk to your child about the event the madrichim held yesterday. Through understanding the level of involvement your child undertook this month and the kind of challenge they chose you will be able to gain a greater insight into their experience here.

What else happened this week?

Here you go…

On Monday the staff arranged a “movie night”. They brought a projector to one of the apartments, popcorn, some soft drinks and the movie that was picked by the students.

On Tuesday the students had an exclusive tour of the Coca Cola Factory! Throughout the tour they were experimenting with some cool and weird stuff. They drank different types of Coca Cola, sat inside a moving ball that gives an explanation of the history of Coca Cola and much more. Did you know that there are only 3 people who know the secret formula of the drink and one of them is a Rabbi! – Why? Because they needed to make sure that the drink is Kosher.

Later on that day the students met for this week’s Parsha and Pizza. Rabbi Marc hosted an Ask the Rabbi session. The group asked questions about a wide variety of issues including: observing Jewish law in the IDF, how do we calculate the start time for Shabbat, why do we keep Kosher, how come there seem to be so many loopholes in Halacha and much more? The group also asked some more personal questions of the Rabbi such as why did he chose to become a Rabbi and what sort of Jew he defines himself as.

On the Entrepreneurship track the group did an “Escape Room”. I don’t know if you are familiar with this kind of attraction but it has become a big thing in Israel and there are hundreds of them around the country. Each room is based upon a different theme and features a number of challenges that the group needs to complete in order to escape. In order to succeed the group needs to cooperate and be creative, otherwise they will be stuck inside forever (or at least until the time expires and the organizer releases them).

On Sunday the Mind & Body and Entrepreneurship tracks had an activity together with Rabbi Dov Ber. He told them about his fascinating life story and his journeys around the world seeking the answer to happiness. As you can imagine there is no answer but the session brought up a number of interesting and useful questions. It was an unusual talk with an unusual person!

That will be all for now.
I’ll be more than happy to explain more and answer questions

Shabbat Shalom!

Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael