A Year in Israel. A Lifelong Impact. 

When Toronto community member Liat finished high school, she found herself facing a predicament. She hoped to become a teacher, but she wasn’t sure if it was the right career for her.  

Luckily, she found the solution: a gap year in Israel participating in the Reverse ShinShinim Year of Service program. This initiative brings Toronto high school graduates to UJA’s partner city of Eilat/Eilot to volunteer all while experiencing life in bustling Israel. 

“It was a year for me to take a break and explore and learn,” Liat explained.  

In her time there, she spent mornings teaching English to grades 7-12 at a local Eilat school, while her afternoons were dedicated to big-sister placements with disadvantaged children in grades 2-6. It was a perfect way to dip her toes into the world of teaching and gain some experience in the classroom—running her own lessons and spending time with students of all ages. “I start university this fall, and I feel much more confident going in,” Liat said. “I learned so much about teaching and I see now that it really is the profession for me.” 

In addition to volunteering, Liat and her fellow Reverse ShinShinim enjoyed trips across Israel. They learned about Jewish identity, Israeli culture, and different communities in the country.  

Liat is back in Toronto now and ready to begin university with more confidence and knowledge, thanks to her year in Israel. “If I didn’t go on a gap year, I don’t know where I would be. Looking back, I was so not ready to go to school. I’m really glad I took a break to go to Israel and learn about myself.” 

Want to learn more about a gap year in Israel? Contact Jenna at jpotash@ujafed.org