gap year in israel

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

Shalom Parents!

gap year programI hope you are all well and prepared to focus on my weekly update!
I want to open with a great example of cooperation between a student and his Madrich. Zack Stockar was telling Shirli, his Madricha, that he misses playing hockey and feels that while spending time in Israel he is losing his skills. Without taking much time to think or ask, Shirli scheduled a skating class for Zack and herself not far from his apartment.
Zack was thrilled with the opportunity and I hope he will now sign up for weekly classes.
This is a great and simple example of a student who knows what he wants to do, has the motivation to do it and most importantly, communicated it to his madrich. Experiences like this are essential in a gap year and they make our job a wonderful thing to do!

apartment meetingsAnd now for the highlights of the week:
On Sunday the madrichim wanted some quality time with their students so they scheduled a personal talk with them in order to understand more about how they are feeling at this point, how their experience has been so far and if they are maximizing their potential. The idea was to ensure that students are making the absolute most of their time with Aardvark Israel and so during and after the apartment meetings each student had a personal talk accompanied by some coffee (or tea, chocolate milk etc.) and cookies.

On Monday our “Culture Committee” AKA C.R.E.W came up with the brilliant idea of holding a Japanese night (it was entirely their idea, we’ve never done anything like it before on Aardvark) including sumo wrestling and sushi. Some of the students were responsible for the sushi and some for the sumo. They found sumo suits for rent, a suit filed with cushions and the evening was hilarious. I participated in the sumo wrestling and lost three out of four matches 🙂

tour of JaffaOn Tuesday the students went on a tour of Jaffa, one of the most fascinating cities in Israel. It is one of the most ancient cities in Israel and is extremely well preserved. Jaffa is home to thousands of stories from the bible, stories of Napoleon and from Greek mythology. The tour was led by our guide Yonit, she is extraordinary! She knows everything about Jaffa and is overflowing with charisma and knowledge! Both the staff and the students were captivated by the tour.

Later that day the students met in the office with Rabbi Marc for Parsha & Pizza (which this week happened to be Parasha & Sushi):

“This week in Parsha and Pizza we completed the book of Shemot/Exodus with the Torah portion of Pekudei. Over the last five weeks we have been deepening our learning about the Mishkan – the mobile sanctuary that the Jewish people transported with them through their wanderings in the desert. After detailed weeks of planning and building we finally came to its construction and dedication. Together we learnt some ancient legends, Midrashim, about how God miraculously put up the whole Mishkan and how Moses himself was honored in the process and we discussed the balance between human and divine force in Judaism. “

photography lighting workshopOn Wednesday evening the group went to Charles Clore Park, right next to the beach, to have a photography lighting workshop. The students were asked to make drawings with a flashlight in the open air and were then told that if you adjust the camera in the right way you can actually see the writing! According to the students it was really cool and I promise to send you the pictures when they are ready.

Adam Poisner came to me the other day asking for a moment of my time in order to demonstrate an app called Easy that he is working on in his internship together with Mime Nikulin and Jerad Mayerson. It is a useful app which locates all the businesses and attractions in your area. It is extremely helpful for tourists and Israelis alike! If you are planning on coming be sure to download the app as it could be very helpful.

This week in Middle East Politics By Dr. Harold Goldmeier:

“In Middle East Politics we are identifying major players in shaping the ME and the influence of external powers. We completed a discussion of major events like the Oslo Accords and the Arab Spring. Now we are beginning a review of BDS, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Kurds, and Hezbollah. Next we are going to examine the politics and culture of individual countries of major importance…Turkey, Iran, the Gulf States, Israel, etc.”

On the Mind & Body Track the students had a workshop about meditation and mindfulness. The workshop taught the students about the benefits of living a mindfulness life. This basically means to be present.

On the Entrepreneurship Track the students went to see a cooperative in action!
The cooperative they went to is called “Bar Kayma”. Bar Kayma was created after the big protests of 2011 (Click here for more info). It is a communal business, this means that all the people involved in it are the owners regardless of their role – manager, bookkeeper, etc. and everyone receives the same salary.
The students experienced the daily routine of the cooperative and even ate lunch there.

That is all for now Until next week…….

Shabbat Shalom,


Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael