gap year in israel

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Shalom Parents,

Another great week on Aardvark is coming to an end, and as always, I have many experiences, pictures, and stories to tell you. Find yourself a comfortable spot and we will be ready to start.

On Sunday the Sea Sports group went to an escape room for a great session about cooperation and creative thinking.

The Entrepreneurship group had a special session with a businesswoman name Osnat Lautman who wrote a book called “Israeli Business Culture”. In the session, the students discussed characteristics of Israeli society and the way they affect the world of business. It was interesting and valuable information that shed some light on the differences in business culture. Later that week the group had another session that was more like a workshop. The topic was “Prototypes in Marketing” and the students received different kinds of tasks that required them to cooperate and be creative in order to complete.

On Monday the group split into boys and girls for a special night activity. The girls had a meaningful activity about women’s empowerment. Sahar and Daniela made different kinds of stands for the girls: fondue, arts and crafts, fake tattoos and a photo shoot stand. After enjoying the activities, the girls gathered to watch a movie about women’s empowerment that led to a discussion about self-image and self-belief. To end the activity, each girl made a mask that reflected the image of the woman she wants to become. Overall, it was a lot of fun and an empowering activity.

The boys met up with Tal and me for a guy’s night. We played some games and held some competitions between the guys. It was very funny and a lot of fun. Later we had a nice BBQ dinner with the students operating the grill and the food was fantastic. We summarized the activity with a discussion about the contemporary meaning of being a man. The students shared their thoughts about male role models they had in their lives, about their inspirations growing up, and about developing their personalities to become the man they want to be.

On Tuesday we had a busy day. For our weekly tour we went to “Sarona”, which is a renovated old German colony. We had a tour around the beautiful houses that are now shops and we learned about the history of the German community. The tour guide told us some interesting stories about the colony, such as that at one point the colony was an establishment for the Hitler youth movement, and during the British mandate the Israeli underground movements used a warehouse there to store guns and spare parts for airplanes. After the tour, the students had the chance to walk around the market and enjoy this amazing place.

Emma Segal said, “I really enjoyed walking around the marketplace and showing my friends around who have never been. It’s one of my favorite places in Israel and I think everyone should be able to see and experience it.”

Later that day we had a Community Talk. We reviewed the schedule and spoke about the end of the semester. We also had a short activity during the community talk. The students had to think about a moment of realization they had during the semester. Each one of them wrote the moment on a post-it note and put it on the “Ah Ha Moments Wall” that we had painted earlier this semester in preparation for the activity. For the next step, the students shared their moments with each other and it was lovely to hear how they agreed and empathized with every moment presented by their fellow participants.

This week’s Parsha and Pizza had a Hanukkah theme. We lit candles together and sang Maoz Tsur as a group. Rabbi Marc gave an overview of the holiday’s main themes and customs. We then had a surprise visit from an exciting musician Rabbi who rapped the lyrics to one of his songs about Hannukah. Click here to watch the video of the song. Rabbi Daniel Silverstein then told us about how he wrote the song and stressed the key message of letting the lights of the Hanukkah candles shine out into the world.

Jessica Gillis said, “I really enjoyed singing songs with all of my friends that brought back amazing childhood memories. I also thought it was really special celebrating the first night of Hanukkah in Israel.”

On Wednesday, for the faces of Israel session, we decided to bring the students something a little different. This time we chose to focus on a very important aspect of Israeli culture, humor. We invited a cartoonist to teach us a lesson about humor in Israel, politics, and life in general. He showed us different types of humor through his work using a board to display posters of cartoons and drawings. It was amazing to see how creativity and humor can become valuable tools for life. We finished the session with an assignment for the students. They each received a few Israelis cartoon and they needed to fill in the writing in the little speech bubbles. The students had some great ideas! The atmosphere during the activity was light and funny. It was fantastic!

Next week we are going to Jerusalem to meet with Aardvark Jerusalem in the Israel Museum. Then we are going to have a special dinner together in a restaurant to celebrate the end of the semester.

After dinner, we are planning to take part in a Jerusalem Chanukah festival and light Chanukah candles in a special Aardvark ceremony; it is going to be great.

The Madrich on call for this weekend is Sahar.

Until next time,



Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael