gap year in israel

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Tel Aviv November 10, 2016

Shalom Parents!

Another great week on Aardvark is coming to an end, and as always, I have many experiences, pictures and stories to share. Find yourself a comfortable spot (couch is preferable) and we’ll be ready to start.

On Sunday the students had their weekly apartment meetings. This time, “Spark team” took the lead and prepared a discussion (as they did 3 week ago). Each member of the “Spark Team” chose 2 roommates and made a personal spark question. The spark questions are individual to each student and suppose to open interesting discussions about life and goals. In each session of “Spark Team” different students were chosen to open their spark questions the discussion.

On Monday evening, we all went to Jaffa for a tour about the co-existence living in this area and in Israel in general. As we started in the Jaffa port, the guide helped us realize that Jaffa, for its importance area has a history of conflicts of more than 3500 years. Wars, riots and hatred are going hand to hand with the beautiful and peaceful place we call Jaffa. As we walked through the narrow allies of Jaffa we notice the “Floating Orange Tree” made by Ran Morin. A very interesting piece of art.

At the end of the tour, we went to a mosque. Inside we met a very interesting guy called Ehab. Ehab is the Imam of the mosque and Islamic community in his area. Ehab showed us the mosque, introduced us with his daily doing as a leader of the Islamic community. The students had an opportunity to ask him questions (I was proud to hear their smart queries and respectful questions). Many questions about the conflict, the Islamic population division in Jaffa about the Muezzin. By the end of this great discussion Ehab invited his Muezzin to sing for the students. His voice amazed the group! We were all astonished of how beautiful he sang.
On a personal matter, I can tell you that I already did several tours in Jaffa. This one gave me a whole new perspective about this beautiful city.

On Tuesday, the group went to Haifa but not before stopping at the Atlit Refugee camp along the way. The camp is where in the days of the British Mandate, Jewish refugees (the right term would be “Ma’apilim”) were held when they got caught by the British when trying to enter the region by sea. The tour guide, among other things, told the group the story of how the refugees were released by a Palmach Force in 1945 in an action led by Yitzhak Rabin and the great story of solidarity of the local Jewish people around along the way. (if it doesn’t ring a bell you have to read about it!).The second stop was the Bahai Gardens in Haifa. It is a beautiful structure with magnificent gardens and interesting architecture. Standing in this unique location overlooking the city of Haifa and the Mediterranean Sea makes all the more interesting to learn from the tour guide about the Bahai Garden’s secret religion that was formed in Iran but is centered in Akko. Participants learned that Akko is not only a place to get good hummus but also the burial place for Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet who is considered to be the founder of the Bahai Religion. I unfortunately, couldn’t join the tour, but what I heard was the thing that surprised some of our students the most though, was the fact that the act of cleaning and maintaining these Baha’i Gardens is considered to be holy! Bewildered from the fact that cleaning can be spiritual, they headed back to Tel Aviv, hopefully to clean.their apartments.

Later on that day, Culture committee, organized the activity. After many discussions with Naama, they decided that the group need to get to know each one better. Each member is required to stretch up a little bit more and get to know a few more members of the group. They did a speed dating activity in which allows people to get to know a big amount of people, randomly, and create some new connections that hopefully will have a potential to grow on.

Yesterday Naama and Elad (our lovely staff) decided to do a little bit of a change regarded to the huge election storm wave that came all the way from the US to Israel. Instead of the regular Parasha & Pizza they crafted together with the students an open guided space (along with a good pizza) and talken about the election results. Elias Asher opened the session by projecting Obama’s speech. There were different opinions about the future of America some were more optimistic and some not. After debating (respectfully) for a while the American students mentioned that it is quite sad for them to be away from America during the election.

Ira Weiss wrote a short paragraph about his internship:
“The atmosphere of my internship truly reflects why I love photography and cinematography so much. No matter the day, I have something to learn from whether it be in Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom or at a photo/video shoot. Throughout my internship, I have had the privilege to work with four very talented photographers who have taught me helpful skills in everything involving photography from how to edit people in Photoshop to lighting during a shoot. I’ve also had the chance to be apart of shoots for clients as well as partake in a television advertisement. Without this opportunity interning at this photography studio, I wouldn’t have the same understanding of photography and editing I currently do. It has also helped me progress and in specific areas of photography that I enjoy focusing on when out and about in this beautiful country with my friends”
I’ve added 2 pictures of Ira: one is a picture of the beach and one is the Camel Market by the end of the day.

Dr. Harold Goldmaier wrote about his classes this week:
In Business Management students learned basic business language: profit and loss, balance sheet, equity and debt financing, etc. They each wrote a case study about a business–several modeled their parents’ businesses. They learned to write a business plan after studying the purpose and ingredients that go into a good plan: mission and vision statements, goals and objectives, strategies, marketing, etc. We examined the five functions of management: planning, leading, organizing, staffing, coordinating.

The middle semester classes focus on personal finance, investing, stocks, and writing a personal resume.

That will be all for now,
And until next time,
Shabbat Shalom,


Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael