gap year in israel

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Shalom Parents!

The middle of November is here and its finally starting to feel like winter here. The skies are gray more often and the warm clothing is unpacked from the back of the closet.

On Sunday, during our weekly apartment meeting, the madrichim brought crowns for each student. Inside each crown, we asked the students to write things they love about the person who sat to their left. After sharing their thoughts we asked them to talk about the things they would want to improve in their apartment dynamics. I was so happy to hear from the madrichim that the students were able to make serious decisions in a mature and respectful approach. By the end of the meetings the students were all wearing their crowns!

On Monday, we brought all the students together in the Moadon for the second part of the array we called “Co-existence and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”. The students sat with popcorn and snacks to see the documentary movie “The Green Prince”. It tells the story of Massab, the son of one of the chief leaders of the Hammas (a terrorist organization in the West Bank and Gaza,) who decided to work for the Shabak (the Secret Service of Israel). Thanks to Masaab Israel were able to launch hundreds of operations and prevent many terrorist attacks inside Israel’s borders. Through his work, Massaab entered a special relationship with his operator, Gonen. Gonen also plays a large role in the movie. When the lights came up at the movie’s close, Gonen (Massab’s operator) came into the room. The students were shocked to see him! You should have seen their faces…

Gonen spoke about the special relationship he has with Massaab then and today. He then gave the students a chance to ask questions about the movie and his work in general. It was fascinating talk.

On Tuesday, we went on a Tiyul (Trip) to the Galil. On the first day we arrived to Usafia, a Druze village where we spoke to an 18 year old, who told us about his life in the village and in Israel. He spoke about the Druze religion and the culture, which most of us had never heard about before. Then we went on to enjoy some traditional Druze food. What a thrill to sit in a restaurant which located just around a beautiful view to the Galil and enjoy a great lunch with everybody!

After lunch we went to Akko, a city of ancient and modern history, where we toured the Shuk, and an old prison where Jewish underground fighters were held as prisoners in the days of the British mandate. We climbed the walls that surround the city and has protected the city from the likes of Napoleon. We walked through underground tunnels that were used for the Templars Crusaders. Our guide, Aric, was very interesting and knowledgeable and his stories made the trip endlessly interesting. Thank you Aric!

Then, by nightfall, after a great dinner in the hostel, we all got ready for the ultimate moment of the trip. The staff started Aardvark’s traditional contest between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, “A Minute To Win It.” In each round a short video was shown with a task that needed to be completed in the one-minute time slot (I’ve attached one of the videos). The students were so into it. I’ve never seen anything like it during my time with Aardvark! There was some very loud cheering and yelling. The staff prepared 8 missions in total, Each mission was difficult and demanded from each participant work very hard to be the best. I’m happy to report that your children, the Tel Aviv group, won the contest and went to sleep very proud that night.

The second day of the tiyul we hiked Nahal Cziv (“Cziv Stream”). The students walked through the beautiful forests beside the (sometimes) streaming water of the Cziv. We carried a packed lunch, which we enjoyed at the top of the “Monfort Castle,” one of the most beautiful overlooks in Israel. I highly recommend visiting this site if you get a chance here in Israel.

So that will be all for now,

Until next week,
Shabbat Shalom.


Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael