gap year in israel

Check out our social media to see what our students have been up to this past week!

Shalom Parents!

According to the Jewish calendar, from this Saturday, we are starting to count the “darkest” days of the year. Each time we light another candle to have more light in a longer night. This year for each candle we’ll light, a feeling of sadness will join the celebration there for it gets us closer and closer to the end of the semester. But thanks to your children our days are full of light and joy (In most cases).

Here are some of our highlights for this week:

On Monday the students were invited to the Moadon for what’s called – “SAKMASH”.
In the army, every time a course is ended the staff gathers the soldiers for SAKMASH activity in which they are summarizing the course and giving some self-reflection about it. Maya used this concept with our students in a way that can be used in a gap year program. How so? Great question!
The Moadon was covered with white fabric. The fabric was covered with pictures from the semester and schedules along with candles, quotes for inspiring the mind, etc. Each student got a piece of paper with guided questions.
With some inspiring songs, the students went through the “walls” of the moadon and wrote their thoughts. Then we all sat together and talked about it, sometimes with each other and sometimes with everyone. From “My funniest moment was…” to “I will never forget that…..” and so on.

The majority of the group told me by the beginning of the month that they want to hike more. After we sent them some hiking opportunities for weekends, we did some changes in the schedule of the semester and went on a hike this Tuesday! The hike was in “The Madaras Ruins”. The Madras ruins, known also as Churvat Madras in Hebrew, is the remains of an agricultural village located in Park Adulam. The Hirbet Madras ruins include houses, burial caves, hiding caves, a columbarium cave, and a burial pyramid. The highlight of the hike, of course, is the “Dark cave” located there as part of this trial. All the students went inside crawling with their flashlights, getting their cool clothes dirty, shouting and laughing in the caves, and mainly helping each other get through.

On Wednesday the group met for Statistics night. I know it sounds extremely boring, but it is quite a funny activity and a great way to summarize the semester! The Madrichim gave each participant an anonymous questionnaire, according to their answers they made a statistic list that grasps what the students think on all kind of different matters, significant and insignificant. We were happy to hear that 99% are feeling that they have changed for the better through the semester and that more than 50% will want to become an Aardvark Madrich/a one day!

Today will be the last day of volunteering for the students. They all went to say goodbyes. We know that most of them have contributed a lot to the organization they were taking part in and acquired many new skills and tools. It will be important to talk with them about it. How was their goodbye?, How do they feel now? etc.

In the final week of classes, Dr. Smith is finishing up psychological disorders in the Introduction to Psychology course. The students are learning the different disorders such as anxiety(phobias, obsessive compulsive, post-traumatic stress, somatoform (dissociative identity, dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue) mood (major depressive, bipolar I and II) disorders. They are learning the frequency, duration, population that is most affected by these disorders. In social psychology, Dr. Smith is wrapping up the theories of attraction. For example, the students are learning the propinquity effect, which states that the simplest determinant of the interpersonal attraction is proximity. The more we interact with people who are near us, the more likely they will become our friends. Dr. Smith enjoyed these semester students. They definitely kept her on her toes!

That will be all for now,
and until next time,

Shabbat Shalom

Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael