gap year in israel

Shalom Parents,

This week was a very special week due to Yom Kippur, as some of you know there is a different atmosphere in Israel than anywhere else in the world during Yom Kippur. Conversations about what is the best way to get past the fast are heard everywhere. Kids bother their parents about fixing the old pair of bikes that have been lying in the basement for a year now and the newspapers are filled with articles recommending the ideal menu for the pre-fast dinners. Whether you are religious or secular, the presence of Yom Kippur is strongly felt everywhere. This special day is also a main part of the educational programming we are doing for the Tishrei ‘Holidays.
As Adi wrote you before, the students were asked to craft their personal mission statement before Rosh Hashana as a way to address the question: “Who do I want to be this year?”. Yom Kippur provides us with the perfect atmosphere to do some personal reflection and ask “How am I going to become this person?”

The madrichim, with the help of several students, led some activities that helped the students create a comfortable environment to ask the tough questions. On Sunday, the madrichim sat with the students for another “My Israeli Journey” session. During the session, the students were asked to think about something within themselves they want to change. The workbook we work with, gave them specific instructions to follow in order to create a process called – “Self-Transformational Experiment”. The result of this session were amazing.

On Monday, Maya took the group for Tashlich at the beach. She scattered different characteristics on the sand and asked the participants to choose one. After discussing why each individual chose the characteristic he chose, the group threw away their sins (in the form of peices if Challah) to the sea.

On Tuesday, we held our own pre-fast potluck meal. The participants that didn’t go to their families or to Jerusalem for Yom Kippur welcomed the beginning of the fast together, at the same time when all Jewish families in Israel were sitting together doing the same in their houses. The streets were as silent as if it was in the middle of the night. After the meal, some scattered to their apartments and others continued to the nearby shuls.

Today, Thursday, the group is meeting at the markolet building rooftop to wrap up our Sukkah. We have all Arbaat Haminim (four symbols), we have our schach (the covering of the sukkah) and decorations! The sukkah is standing firm thanks to the Logistics committee that helped set the structure up.

Next week is another short week due to sukkot. We will have some activities in our new sukkah, have some study time for the midterms and a field trip to Zichron Yaakov.

Shabbat Shalom!

Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael