Jewish Life Digital Edition October 2015 - Page 24

TEENS MY LAND Israel is a land of diversity, which makes it ideal for a gap year after school. Whether it’s a work, learn and play experience you’re looking for, or a more serious stint in yeshiva or seminary, or even something more off the wall – Israel’s got it all. I found three options to explore… I By Chandrea Serebro Ariella Cobb Ariella Cobb knew she wanted to go to Israel on a gap year after school to give herself the chance to learn Torah, while at the same time fending for herself on a journey of self-discovery, and to see the beauty of Israel as well. With the wealth of options out there, Ariella had many different programmes from which to choose. In the end, she decided to go on Bnei Akiva’s Midreshet Torah vAvodah (MTA) programme, a year-long programme through which she’d have the opportunity to live in Israel, be part of Israeli culture, learn in world-class Torah institutions, and tour the country during the breaks between semesters. In addition, the programme consists of an emphasis on leadership skills development, volunteering, Zionism and hadracha (leadership) seminars, experiencing the army, and even a trip to Poland. For Ariella, the real drawcard was the extensive Torah study and top institutions of learning. “The programme offers different options of learning institutions in order to allow the individual to learn in a place that suits them. During the times when we are not at yeshiva or midrasha, MTA provides a full programme of activities which includes seminars, touring and learning about the land of Israel.” And it suits South African students to a tee, because, unlike most programmes, MTA runs during the southern hemisphere year, from January to December, while most of the others run from August to June. Even when I get back from Israel and go to university, I will try my hardest to continue to expand my Torah learning and never forget the valuable lessons that I’ve learned during my gap year in Israel. ARIELLA COBB 20 JEWISH LIFE n ISSUE 89 photographS: SUPPLIED This land is MTA – Ariella Cobb