By: Anna Kaplan
I could have gone anywhere, nine months is a lot of time. I could have stayed home and gotten a job or hitchhiked across America. However, once I made the decision to take a gap year there was only one option.
I knew I wanted to learn about myself, but I could have done that anywhere. I knew I wanted to travel, but there are a number of countries where I could accomplish that feat. Additionally, I wanted to explore and delve into my religion. Therefore, when choosing what to do with a year off, the decision couldn’t be more clear – Israel!
The beauty of Israel can be summed up into two words – Jewish State. I have spent my life thus far living in the United States. However, this year I am embarking on a journey of studying in Israel for nine months. From studying my religion, to exploring the land, I am partaking in an adventure like no other.
Nine months in a foreign country that, as a Jew, I have the privilege to call home. I can think of no other way to sum up my journey so far except for describing the beauty of being in a Jewish State. I love how when I travel on public buses Jewish and Israeli music welcomes me. I love the atmosphere of hearing Hebrew all around me – from signs to street names to the mumbles I hear on the street – it is all quite a remarkable experience.
In the short time I have been here I have been reminded of Israel’s abundance of history and all the struggles that this country has gone through to be what it is today. No matter how you cross this so called desert of a land, one thing is for sure – it is nothing like a dessert.
Israel may be only slightly bigger than the size of New Jersey, but it contains epic-centers for every industry you could think of. Israel may have only been around for sixty-eight years, but it is constantly making ground breaking discoveries in the medical, agricultural, scientific, and technological fields.
Even before all of the technological and medical developments, Israel continues to be a country attracting countless people for its rich history. At the moment I am on my way to the old city, to the kotel, place where not too long ago people dreamed of having the privilege to visit. Today, among other tourists and Israelis I will enter the old city as if I am simply returning home.