One of JSU’s missions is to expose students in our local public schools to other Jewish programs in America and abroad. There are now many different organizations that run programs all over the world, but nothing can compare to a trip to Israel. In addition to great summer programs, like The Jerusalem Journey, there are some great gap year programs for students that have just graduated from high school. Taking the opportunity to experience life in Israel before staring college is a transformative experience and will make the college experience so much more meaningful. I personally spent two years in Israel at a Yeshiva call Ner Yaakov and then Toras Moshe, both of which were located in Jerusalem. Just having the opportunity to be away from home, on your own is very exciting, but to do it with friends and even with new friends makes it even better. But a Yeshiva environment is not always for everyone and certainly not for someone with any Jewish background. I am a huge fan of Aish Hatorah and Ohr Sameach and each of those Yeshivas have smaller affiliate programs for beginners. I also have friends that run Judaic tracks at two of the most famous universities in Israel. Rabbi Tully Bryks started a program last year at Bar Ilan University and a new program has just begun by Rabbi Glazer at Hebrew University. I’ve heard a lot about those programs, but haven’t seen them personally, but they are all on my radar. I hope over the next few months I will get to see those programs as well.
About two months ago I received a message from Danielle Rubinstein, a colleague who works at Young Judea in Florida. She urged me to call back as soon as possible and said she had amazing news to share with me. Apparently Young Judea selects five people from different areas in America to travel to Israel to see their gap year program called Year Course. To be honest, I wasn’t so familiar with the program other than having seen a promotional video and hearing from a few students who had participated. But I was excited to be able to see this famous program first hand. They certainly believe in their program and really want people that are involved with teenagers to come and experience their program. To be honest after I land at Ben Gurion I don’t know where I’m headed. I’m not sure if there is one campus or multiple campuses, I don’t even know what city I’m headed for. But I guess that’s what makes this experience so important. I am always looking for meaningful experiences to add to the list of other great programs that JSU South Florida promotes. I really give credit to Young Judea for sponsoring this trip and I can’t wait to see Year Course. Stay tuned for daily updates!!