The 5779 Israel Yeshiva / Seminary Gap Year Buyers Guide


Source: Times of Israel 


It’s that time of year again. Israeli yeshiva and seminary representatives are arriving in the US to speak in high schools and present to parents at Israel fairs. And of course, students and their parents are beginning to ponder if yeshiva/seminary is right for them and if so which one. At present, there are 23 programs for young men and 21 listed on the join application for women. In addition, there are many co-ed programs, university programs, and Israel experience gap year programs of one stripe or another. In total, representatives of close to 50 different programs will be presenting at schools and Israel fairs. The seminaries and yeshivot offer a variety of superb programs with some of the most talented Jewish educators on the planet; however, the nuances and unique elements of each are sometimes lost during the 20 or so minute presentations given at Israel fairs.

Often, when students arrive in Israel, they appear as deer caught in headlights with no clear understanding of what they have gotten themselves into. Beyond spending the academic year in Israel, they often don’t seem to grasp what the yeshiva/seminar program they have decided to attend offers or expects.

A further point to ponder is the manner in which students choose. Too often, students base their decision on where friends are going as opposed to which program is best suited for the student. Yeshivot and seminaries are not summer camps. Usually, within a week or two, new friendships are made and groups are realigned. Like college decisions, students and their parents should look to see which program is best for them.

Here a few questions, suggestions, and issues students and their parents might want to consider this week and in the coming months.

The choice of if and where to study in Israel an important one which shouldn’t be taken lightly. Armed with the appropriate information, the year can be a life-changing one.

Updated: Nov. 14, 2018