gap year in israel

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Hello dear parents,

It has been a busy week here on Aardvark Tel Aviv with the students returning to the weekly routine after the holidays. Before telling you about the week we had, I want to start with last weekend.

Nineteen students from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv opted to go together on a special Camping Weekend on a Moshav near Modiin called Havat HaBarbur. The group set up their tents and cooked their food, built a campfire and sat around singing and relaxing. Along with the counselors, we were lucky to have Tehilla with us – an amazing facilitator and educator who ran sessions on nature, meditation and creation. The students led a musical Kabbalat Shabbat service, had time to bond, play games, and learn a little about the great outdoors.

Early on Sunday morning the students that signed up for the Spain trip travelled to Ben Gurion airport and it seems that they are having an amazing time!

The “Marva” course also started this Sunday. I want to wish Benjamin Lefkowitz the best of luck and I hope that the experience will be as meaningful as possible

The Sea Sports group went to a climbing wall where they had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the challenge of climbing the wall’s different courses. The entrepreneurship group had an interesting session with an organization called Presentence Israel. The session, titled “Idea Slam”, taught them a new and unique methodology for creative thinking.

On Monday, after the internships, the students had the chance to get back to their studying.
This week the academic classes became more intense, especially for those who take the courses for credits. The students needed to hand in assignments for some of the classes. It was lovely to see them studying in their apartments and making a great effort to succeed in class.

Later that day we had our optional evening activity. We had originally planned a different activity but we decided to move the activity two weeks forward since the students asked to take advantage of the last days of summer to have a volleyball tournament at Gordon Beach.

Many of the students came to the beach and we divided them into groups and started to play. The atmosphere on the amazing beach inspired the students, it was full of Israelis playing volleyball, and the energy level was high in the sky!

On Tuesday our tour was a little bit different. We went to the Tel Afek national park for a tour in nature. We walked around the park until we got to the Antipatris fortress. Our tour guide told us the fortress’ story and history. It was built by Herold the Great and named in honor of his father. It lies between Caesarea, Maritina and Lydda, on the great Roman road from Caesarea to Jerusalem.

After the walk, we settled in the grove, ate lunch and played all kind of games, like Matkot, football, and volleyball. It was a great experience playing and running or just sitting in the shade to relax. Afterward Daniel Berkman said, “It was great, we really needed some play time together”.

On Tuesday the MADA course started, and one of our students is now attending the course in Jerusalem. Soon she will be back to work on ambulances here in Tel Aviv. I would like to wish Nelly Broomberg success with the course.

This week in Parsha and Pizza we reminded ourselves of the story of Noah and the flood. The world was corrupt and God decided to wipe out humanity and start again, saving only Noah and his immediate family together with some animals. We spent a great deal of time thinking about people’s immorality and how terribly they must have behaved to warrant such a punishment. After the flood was over God made a promise (in Biblical Hebrew we call it a ברית – a covenant) that the earth will never be destroyed again. God declares the rainbow as his sign. Rabbi Marc helped the group think through the symbolism of the rainbow with two ideas. The rainbow is an upturned bow, a sign of peace, and God is showing us that his bow and arrow will never again point downwards to hurt humanity, rather upwards. The rainbow is also full of colors and God is showing us the diversity of the world and people and offering us a sign of peace that we may all sit together in the light of the rainbow.

On Wednesday we had a special activity called the “Co-Existence tour”. We met at the clock tower in Jaffa after sunset. Our tour guide, Yair, took us around the city and explained the historical significance of Jaffa and Jaffa’s relationship with Tel Aviv. After stopping at a few beautiful sights, including the Abulafia bakery, we went to a mosque. At the mosque, we learned about Islam, heard an Imam sing the call to prayer, and looked at the beautiful patterns and artwork in the mosque.

Afterwards, we went outside to hear a fascinating story from a Muslim who went from hating the Jews to learning to respect their culture, eventually marrying one himself! This story was not only a great learning experience but also a perfect example of co-existence.

Maya and Abby said, “It was an experience to remember, we found his story very interesting and inspiring!”

Next week we are having a three-day seminar in Kibbutz Ketura. Ketura is located next to Eilat, in the south of Israel. We are going to have three amazing days full of spiritual and educational experiences with the Jerusalem Aardvarkians at the Kibbutz. I can’t wait to tell you all about it next week.
The Madrich on call for this weekend is Ilay

I wish you all Shabbat Shalom,


Gap year in israel - aardvarkisrael