On Thursday November 16th from 7 to 10 pm, you are invited to the Israel Fair at YULA Girls’ High School, where you will find out some exciting opportunities for next year. It’s called the Gap Year — a year to spend in Israel before you enter college. Just spending those months in the Land of our Fathers can be a fascinating experience. Learning there, meeting other young people from there and from other parts of the world, and visiting places like the Western Wall, Lake Kinneret, and Tel Aviv — all contribute to a valuable year.
Phyllis Folb, the dedicated energetic director of the program, tells me that the Gap Year not only provides a unique travel and educational experience, but it reinforces the students’ grip on their Jewish identity. This year, that grip is more vital than ever. We all know that next year some of them will find themselves on campuses where our political and religious enemies are spreading hatred and danger. Jewish students are targets of that hatred and that danger, and need the strong backbone that can come from their Gap Year. The lies and discrimination leveled against them can be defeated by Jewish classmates who know their identity and champion it. Phyllis exults in the positive results of the Israel Gap Year. She calls it a combination of college learning and Jewish growth.
Check it out: This is a multi-denominational program, involving students from public schools, day schools, private schools and Yeshivot. They and their parents can choose the Israeli learning center that they will contact. The year these teenagers spend in Israel offers the chance to get acquainted with their contemporaries, whose outlook may be secular or haredi or anywhere in between. Daily actions can build a sense of what it takes to form a nation. And friends they make in Israel can add color and meaning to their lives.
If you are graduating in June 2018, don’t miss the Israel Fair!
By Rabbi Baruch Cohon