Of 32 Class of ’17 Shana Ba’Aretz (SBA) post-high school students, four signed up to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Three will spend the next year as volunteers in Israel’s National Service. Three others enrolled in Israeli colleges and universities. No wonder SBA student Ariella Gentin of Scarsdale openly mused in a May Times of Israel blog about the push-pull of returning to America vs remaining in Israel. She called it, “A tiny thought for my friends thinking about their futures: the dreamers and the realists and all those in between.”
See Times of Israel article
“We 19 year-old products of Modern Orthodox American Jewry are sent to study Torah in Eretz Hakodesh, and inevitably, many of us contemplate whether or not we should stay in Israel. Some of us do, many of us don’t. Regardless, the nagging ‘I shouldn’t be going back to Teaneck/Long Island/Westchester, etc.’ exists for almost every student at some point,” wrote Ariella, who will attend Brandeis University this fall.
Teaneck, NJ, native Margalit Silver chose to enroll in Nishmat’s Educators for the Next Generation, a joint program with Herzog College, where she will earn a B.Ed., majoring in Bible and Talmud. Nishmat’s very accessible faculty and an open environment encourages each student to “forge my own path,” in the words of SBA student Abby Stein of Atlanta, who’s returning to the U.S. for her freshman year at U of Penn this fall.
Rachel Eckstein of Passaic, NJ, plans to serve in the IDF. “After my year at Nishmat, I feel well-prepared to join the army, confident that I have Torah by my side,” she said.
Rachel was featured in the New Jersey Jewish Link at the beginning of the academic year.