FAQ

Gap-year programs take place following high school graduation and before embarking on an undergraduate degree track or other study program or occupation. A gap-year program enables participants to step outside of the typical high school-to-college-to-career progression and reflect on who they are now, and what they want to be as an adult.

In the process, gap year participants gain confidence, focus, life skills, and a valuable network of colleagues and friends. Ultimately, participants in gap-year programs are better positioned to succeed in their future endeavors.

Personal Benefits
Participants on Hevruta benefit from the experience in a range of ways:

Achieve Independence
Hevruta helps you become a more capable and independent young adult. Manage the demands of the program while making time for exploring on your own. Of course, program staff are always available and present, guiding you along the way.

Explore and Reflect
Enjoy exposure to a range of new experiences and new ideas. Build on your interests from home while in Israel. Step out of your comfort zone and possibly discover new passions and pursuits.

Build and Thrive in Community
Being able to work as a team is an increasingly important part of academic and professional life. Participants are empowered to help shape key aspects of the program together and are responsible for shaping the community in which they will live.

Hone Life Skills
Live in apartments. Manage a weekly budget to buy or prepare breakfast and snacks. Do your laundry! At the conclusion of the experience, participants come home with a greater sense of personal responsibility and are more grounded in basic life skills.

Live Abroad
You may have traveled abroad in the past, but living abroad is something else entirely. Going abroad with us enables participants to achieve a deep understanding of Israeli society and culture. Perhaps on a more ambitious level, living abroad enables you to develop the capacity to see your own life and your own country through a new lens.

Young people increasingly travel or volunteer for a year between high school and college. Gap year programs exist in every corner of the world, offering a diverse range of experiences and cultural immersion. Why should you choose a program in Israel from all of the available options?

You have many different elements that shape your identity – school, sports, arts, social activism, family and friends. Your Jewish identity is likely also an important factor. Hevruta blends the different elements of your identity into an incredibly rich experience that will challenge you and help you grow.

Do something extraordinary after high school. Grow into a mature, independent individual as you start the next phase of your life. Build a foundation that will offer meaning and connection in today’s rapidly changing world. This program offers everything that any gap year experience should, but does it better, at a higher level, with impressive peers and staff who will challenge, support, and appreciate you. We’ll position you for unique success in your future endeavors.

Specifically, participants on Hevruta will enjoy:

Intensive Learning: Participants will study in our Beit Midrash under the guidance of unparalleled Shalom Hartman Institute and Hebrew College faculty; explore texts and ideas that illuminate both Israel and the United States as centers of contemporary Jewish life; and dive deep into Great Jewish Books, encountering new avenues for discovery and inquiry. Jewish learning will be driven by participants’ intellectual curiosity and thirst for knowledge, and their belief that Jewish textual tradition serves as a compelling source for exploring and better understanding our circumstances today. English is the primary language of instruction, although Hebrew language electives are available to students.

Integrating Americans and Israelis: Hevruta is designed specifically for a fully integrated and balanced Israeli and American cohort. It is also the only gap year program based in Israel that also includes a multi-week component in the United States. Participants live together and are responsible for building a shared community, growing from the experience of living and learning with peers from different backgrounds and expectations. The relationships developed during this year together will serve as a model for ways in which both communities can learn from and contribute to each other and as a platform for lifelong friendships and partnership.

Global Jewish Leadership: Hevruta’s Jerusalem Leadership Lab is an internship program that will expose participants to leading change-makers in Israel and help them develop big ideas that will address the Jewish people’s most significant challenges. Over the course of the year, the internship will introduce our students to organizations, people and issues that are shaping the future of Israel and Judaism. Our participants are not “tomorrow’s leaders” – we need their leadership today, and will empower them to pursue their passions in a supportive, inspiring environment.

Impactful Service Learning: Participants will engage in ongoing service projects around Jerusalem that will contribute significantly to an area of critical need. This direct service will be supported by ongoing reflection on how to effectively enact more comprehensive social change.

Cultural and Communal Programming: We will push beneath the surface and engage all five senses as we explore various layers of Israeli culture. Participants will enjoy concerts, lectures, theatrical performances, exhibits, and festivals; and along the way will meet artists, musicians, writers, critics, and other culture-makers. Participants are expected to design and execute programming for their peers, and Shabbat, holiday, and other prayer and spirituality experiences will be available throughout the year to participants.

Israel As A Living Laboratory: Jerusalem is home for our participants. Its juxtaposition of new and old, beautiful and battle-scarred, religious and secular shapes their growth as learners and leaders. Through monthly tiyulim across Israel, participants encounter the people and places that make it so vibrant and complex. Free Shabbatot and holidays enable participants to travel together independently from the program.

Only 20 spots are reserved for our American participants. The application process is built to identify highly capable and impressive candidates. We do everything we can during the application process to determine that the applicant and the program are a good fit.

Suitable applicants for this experience should exhibit the following criteria:
Intellectually curious and capable
Mature and independent
Open to living and learning in a pluralistic environment based on mutual respect
Interest in integration and engagement with Israeli peers
Demonstrated commitment to participating in and building Jewish community
Previous experience in Israel
Experience in leadership roles during high school
High school graduate who has yet to begin undergraduate studies

We require a high school transcript as part of the application process.

Acceptance to the program is conditioned upon the receipt of a full application, which includes an interview. Receipt of deposit and application forms does not guarantee acceptance to the program. We reserve the right to deny or revoke acceptance to the program according to our sole discretion.

The Hevruta application is divided into two parts. Part I asks for information about you, your family, your academic history, and your extra-curricular activities. Part II asks you to write a brief essay and prepare a short video on topics you may choose from a number of options. When you submit Part II, you will also be asked to pay your $100 application fee.

Upon receipt of a completed application, you will be contacted by Hevruta staff to arrange an interview. The interview will take place via video-conference and include staff members from both the Shalom Hartman Institute and Hebrew College. Over the course of 30-45 minutes, we will get to know you by asking you questions based on what we’ve learned from your application.
Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. Applicants will be notified within two weeks of their interview.

Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. Applicants will be notified within one week of their interview.

Accommodations, meals, academic courses and programs, college credit, dynamic staff and faculty, tiyulim (field trips/excursions), and medical insurance.

Hevruta is an approved program of Masa Israel. Hevruta participants may apply for Masa grants and scholarships at masaisrael.org. We encourage all applicants to look to local organizations – synagogues, federations, and so on – to appeal for financial support for this special experience.

An application fee of $100 is due with submission of your application. Upon acceptance to the program, a non-refundable deposit of $1,000 is required to reserve your spot.

Yes. Most participants have the opportunity to earn college credits. The academic program is supervised by Hebrew College, located in Boston, MA, and accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

All applicants must submit an official high school transcript as part of their application. You may participate in Hevruta without pursuing college credit.

This depends on the college you go on to attend. Many participants have been able to transfer some or all of the credit they received to their universities. Applicants should check with the university in which you will be enrolling and ask what their policy is since each school is different. Applicants can show the universities the academic course descriptions located on our website.

We advise that participants apply to universities while in their senior year of high school and request to defer admission for one year. It is common for universities to grant deferrals for serious academic programs, but applicants are responsible for checking with the school to see what its policy is. Some universities will not allow credit to be transferred if it is earned during a “deferred” year.

Hevruta’s academic program is rigorous and challenging, and will center around Jewish ideas, Jewish literature, and leadership. You will spend mornings Sunday-Wednesday in the Shalom Hartman Institute Beit Midrash. Your learning will focus on Israeli and American Jewish history, society, and culture. We employ a full range of texts – from ancient, to rabbinic, to medieval, to modern – to better understand the Jewish people’s challenges and opportunities today. Throughout the year you will engage with a series of Great Jewish Books, participating in a thorough and passionate examination of these critical texts.

The rigorous and challenging Hevruta academic program is built on a curriculum of Jewish ideas, literature, and leadership. Throughout the year participants will experience four core academic courses: iEngage, the Shalom Hartman Institute Engaging Israel Project; US-Engage; Foundations For a Thoughtful Judaism; and Great Jewish Books.

iEngage – the Engaging Israel Project at the Shalom Hartman Institute
The Hartman Institute iEngage curriculum evolved in response to feelings of disenchantment and disinterest toward Israel by Jews worldwide. The goal is to create a new narrative regarding the significance of Israel for Jewish life. This narrative will serve as a foundation for a new covenant between Israel and world Jewry, elevating the existing discourse from one with a crisis-based focus to one rooted in Jewish values and ideas.
Participants will hear from the Hartman team of internationally renowned scholars in the fields of Jewish studies, Middle East politics, and history, who have created the iEngage curriculum. Together we will delve into core questions regarding the necessity and significance of the Jewish national enterprise; how a Jewish state should exercise power; why a Jew who lives outside of Israel should care about Israel; and what the State of Israel can offer the world.

The “project of Israel” requires constant re-conceptualization of the very meaning of a Jewish democratic public sphere. Hevruta participants will confront the challenges of creating a Jewish and democratic public space in the modern State of Israel both through traditional study and by experiencing the paradoxes of Israel’s public space first-hand. Deepening our understanding of the tribal divides amongst Israel’s stakeholders will help us to elevate our thinking regarding the core principles of democracy and their relationship with Israel’s Jewish character. We will work together to generate ideas that will help Israel to restructure the relationship between the collective and the individual “tribes” which comprise it. In addition to our deep interaction with the Jewish homeland, a substantial portion of the iEngage experience focuses on engaging the world.

US-Engage
This curriculum, designed specifically for Hevruta, was created by educational leaders from Hebrew College and the Shalom Hartman Institute. The purpose of the course is to establish a thoughtful and nuanced discourse about the successes and challenges of the North American Jewish experiment, introducing Israeli participants to the complexity and richness of Jewish life in North America while challenging North American participants to confront their own experience from a new perspective. The course considers North America as a vibrant and important center of contemporary Jewish life and, in the same way that the iEngage curriculum tackles tough questions regarding Israel, US-Engage asks difficult questions about the challenges of Jewish success in Diaspora; the conflict of universalism and particularism; Judaism’s place in North American democratic structures; and the consequences of accommodation, assimilation, and acculturation. On our three-week journey through North America we dig deeper into the questions posed by both the iEngage and US-Engage coursework. The iEngage/US-Engage combination will serve as the framework for every other programmatic element of the Hevruta experience.

Foundations for a Thoughtful Judaism
This curriculum is comprised of three components—Foundations of Ethics, Foundations of Faith, and Foundations of Community. Each component engages participants in intensive study of texts that span the full range of Jewish thought over time.
Foundations of Ethics considers the role of ethics in religious life. What is the source of morality? Who determines what is good? How does religion shape moral behavior? From where do we take the idea of justice and responsibility for the other?
The Foundations of Faith section focuses on the following areas: balancing faith and reason; images of God; God, history and the problem of evil; the role of prayer in contemporary life; mitzvah and covenant; the mystical religious experience; and the development of spiritual practice.
Foundations of Community explores issues of Jewish Peoplehood and the relationship between the individual and the collective. This section will include topics such as pluralism, relationship with the other in community, and boundaries and theories of membership – who is a Jew?

Great Jewish Books
This curricular component will familiarize participants with classic Jewish texts from ancient times to modern day. In addition to reading, students will be encouraged to discuss, argue about, and explore in-depth these powerful and enduring works. Amongst the sources that we will pursue will be Talmud, selected readings in Maimonides, Kuzari, Zohar, Hasidic masters, Zionist thought, modern Jewish thought–Kook, Kaplan, Heschel, Soloveitchik, Leibowitz and of course, Hartman—and modern Israeli poetry.

Our Leadership Lab will introduce the basics of leadership theory and transition into ongoing projects that will push you to put these ideas into practice.

All students accepted to the program are intellectually curious, and display superior academic capabilities in high school. Our curriculum is built to set a high standard for all of our students, regardless of their educational background, and we challenge and encourage them to meet this high standard. The program places text study at its center, with ample opportunities to study texts in the original Hebrew with Israeli counterparts.

While academic and extracurricular activities are conducted in English, a working knowledge of Hebrew will enhance your experience. A Hebrew Ulpan can be an option for a student looking to advance their Hebrew language skills to the desired level before the program. Hebrew College has both on-campus and online Hebrew language courses available. During the experience, ongoing Hebrew language study will be made available for our American participants on a weekly basis. American participants’ Hebrew language skills will also accelerate as a result of simply living in Israel, and due to the extensive amount of time they will spend with their Israeli peers. Some elective courses will be taught in Hebrew.

Meaningful community service is a core feature of the Hevruta program. Participants will dedicate three afternoons a week to service projects in and around Jerusalem that will significantly contribute to areas of critical need. Participants will be presented with a range of issues from which they will be able to select the focus of their service and learning. Examples of potential service projects include the purchase, organization and distribution of food and other staples to low-income families; work with disadvantaged youth, including the children of foreign workers; interfaith and inter-ethnic projects that promote coexistence and peace; engagement and support of the elderly; and the rehabilitation of ex-convicts.

Through this important yearlong work, participants are connected with organizations that address these issues. Participants will support the work of these organizations while learning more about their focus issues. Projects serve as an introduction to all aspects of these social issues and a means for providing critical service, while also providing a foundation for Hevruta leaders to advocate for more systemic change and improvement in their focus areas.

Participants will live in independent apartments with both American and Israeli peers, with madrichim (counselors) living in the immediate vicinity. The apartments are all in one building in the San Simon neighborhood, about a 25-minute walk to the Shalom Hartman Institute. This independent living environment will encourage mature decision-making, and introduce participants to layers of Israeli society they would not have the opportunity to experience living in a dormitory. Participants will develop life skills that will serve them well in Israel and in life beyond the program!

Participants will be familiar residents of the San Simon neighborhood, frequenting shops and shopping in the local markets. Participants receive a stipend for their food, keep a kitchen that meets the needs of each participant in the apartment, and share responsibility for cooking meals with their roommates.

All food provided by the program is kosher. Participants will determine the kashrut observance in their apartments. Participants requesting a kosher roommate will be accommodated. Participants are responsible for breakfast in their apartments (using a monthly stipend to purchase their food) each day. Lunch and dinner are provided daily at the Shalom Hartman Institute, and all meals during tiyulim are provided by the Shalom Hartman Institute.

Any food served in public forums by the program is strictly kosher. Each individual apartment is under the discretion of its residents, after a facilitated decision-making process guided by our staff at the beginning of the program. When participants are out on their own, Kashrut is not enforced. Participants requesting a kosher roommate will be accommodated. Participants with special dietary needs or preferences can generally be accommodated upon request. Please indicate any dietary considerations on your program application.

The program is committed to providing a safe and secure experience. Our philosophy is to treat each and every participant we serve as a member of our own family. Safety and security considerations always come first. While we work to offer our participants a measure of independence, this is all done in the context of a safe and supervised framework.

Participants are engaged in courses, projects and programs under staff and faculty direction from morning to evening every weekday. Monthly excursions, Shabbat programming, and other activities are also staff supervised.

Participant life at home in their apartments is consistently supervised by our madrichim, who live in apartments in the immediate neighborhood. They are on-call all hours of the day to provide support and guidance to Hevruta participants. Hevruta’s Program Director is also available 24/7 as another layer of support. During unscheduled free time, participants are encouraged to make mature and responsible choices as they explore independently from the program. Staff are always available should any questions and concerns arise for participants during the program.

A safety & security orientation occurs at the start of the program and covers rules, guidelines and common sense advice. Each participant is given an orientation booklet that contains the phone numbers of program staff and personnel who are available on a 24/7 basis.

Educational travel experiences are planned to avoid areas of concern, and we travel with a security/medical escort where necessary.

The program office in Israel is in regular contact with the Ministry of Education’s Situation Room. Changes to the program schedule and regulations may be made according to conditions.

The program follows common sense rules governing safety from the sun, field safety on hikes, and safety from other natural conditions.

Parents will be able to contact program staff on a 24/7 basis and will be updated with news and information about the program throughout the year.

During free Shabbatot and vacations, there is always a staff member on call. Also, at the beginning of the year, all participants receive materials with the emergency contact information for staff members and are told how to reach a staff person in an emergency. All participants must have a cell phone.

Yes. Every other Shabbat is free, and we encourage the students to travel and explore during this time. Members of the staff are available to help students plan their personal excursions, and in many cases can help them find home hospitality as they travel around Israel. Also, on a daily basis, if someone is not working or in class, he/she is free to go out around Jerusalem. There are also two vacations, one in December and one during Passover.

We provide ample opportunities for personal exploration and self-growth. Participants are encouraged to seek out their own unique experience and ultimately achieve a high level of independence within the context of the program, and in accordance with our community values and expectations. This move towards independence is balanced with the comfort of knowing that the program staff are available as support and as guides at all times.

Hevruta is led by director Chaya Gilboa, Rabbi-Lead educator Leon Wiener-Dow, and assistant director Yitzi Hartman, along with post-army Israeli and American madrichim (counselors) who live in the apartments and plan educational and social programming for participants. Collectively, the staff team provides guidance and enrichment as participants acclimate to life in Israel, pursue their learning, build community, and develop life and leadership skills.

The program is designed as a pluralistic experience. Observant participants will be able to comfortably live a fully observant life on the program. However, all students will engage and in some cases live with peers who practice their Judaism differently. We encourage these encounters. Our staff is constantly supervising the participant community, and is always available to ensure that our participants’ needs are met.

The safety and security of our participants is our primary concern. Our staff is in regular contact with Israel’s security services. We also receive in real time all security alerts posted by Israeli security services and adjust our program according to the recommendations we receive regarding travel.

Participants are allowed to use public transportation within the current year’s security guidelines. However, we reserve the right to restrict travel if the security situation warrants it.

While we believe that participants should enjoy a measure of independence during their time on Hevruta, participants will need to request and receive permission to visit areas not under Israeli control. Such travel will require prior parental consent, as well as explicit approval from the Program Director.

Cellphones are mandatory for all participants. All apartments are equipped with Internet access. Internet is also available at the Shalom Hartman Institute. We generally find that cellphones and Skype are the most common ways to stay in touch.
For safety and security reasons, all participants are required to have a local cell phone in Israel. We have made arrangements for a discounted group cell phone rental through “Israel Phones” for participants on the program. Why rent via Israel Phones?
All incoming calls and text messages are free. Outgoing calls are based on low usage rates.
Several packages are available, including low rates for data usage if you wish to bring a smart phone.
By renting an Israel Phone via our link, program staff will have a record of your cell phone, and you will be automatically included in group messaging.
Delivery of the phone in Israel is free for all program participants.

Be sure to submit your Israel Phones order at least two weeks prior to your arrival in Israel.

You can look up your assigned Israeli cellular number 1-3 business days in advance of your arrival in Israel by logging into your Israel Phones account and selecting “What’s My Number”. If you have any further questions about your cellular phone rental, feel free to contact IsraelPhones directly at 1-866-8ISRAEL (from the US), 1-866-302-5512 (from Canada) or email them at info@israelphones.com.

The best time for family and friends to visit their participant in Israeli is during our December and Passover vacations. The rest of our time is heavily scheduled, with little time for a participant to explore with friends and family away from the program. We will do our best to accommodate visiting friends and family within the rigors of the program.

During your free time and breaks you will have time to spend with friends on other programs. The programs often have simultaneous free Shabbatot; this is a great opportunity to spend time with your friends.

Israel requires visas for anyone staying the program three months. Accordingly, all participants must obtain an Israeli visa in order to attend Hevruta unless the participant has an Israeli passport. We encourage you to approach your local Consulate General of Israel or the nearest Embassy of Israel 6-8 weeks before the start of your program in order to request a special visa for longer term stays in the country.

If you have visited Israel in the past, the entry rules for short term stays and longer term stays are very different. It is best to plan ahead now to avoid complications down the line.

In order to obtain an A2 Visa, you must visit a consulate or embassy with the following:
A letter from the program validating your acceptance to the program
A valid passport
Two passport sized photos
Completed Visa Application

We encourage you to contact your local Israeli consulate or embassy prior to your visit, and confirm that you have all necessary documents.

The Israeli consular staff has final jurisdiction with regards to granting a visa. Should you encounter a problem when requesting the visa, an internal letter from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs can be provided to clarify the procedures. If there is still a problem, please contact us directly. Keep in mind that the A2 Visa does not entitle you to work in Israel AND is only valid for a maximum of a one-year stay in Israel.

All visitors to Israel must arrive with a passport that is valid for six months from the date that you arrive in Israel. If your passport expires in less than six months from the start of your trip, you may not be allowed to enter Israel. We require all applicants to submit a valid copy of their passport during their online application process.

If either of your parents is a citizen of Israel, or if you lived in Israel at some point in the past, it is your responsibility to make sure that your status with the Israeli Defense Forces is worked out and clear. If you hold an Israeli passport, you must enter Israel with your Israeli passport. If either of your parents are Israeli citizens, you may still have obligations to the State of Israel that must be worked out prior to your trip even if you do not have an Israeli passport. It is our understanding that Israeli law states that children born to Israeli citizens are automatically Israeli citizens, even if only one parent is Israeli and even if those children are not born in Israel. If a participant has Israeli citizenship, it is essential that s/he obtain the year-long deferment from military service (by contacting the local Israeli consulate and requesting a year-long deferral from the army) as well as a valid Israeli passport prior to departure. Israeli citizens should be aware that they cannot stay in the country for more than 12 months without endangering their future immigrant rights if they should choose to move to Israel.

Compliance with applicable laws is the responsibility of the participant, and while the information above is accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing, participants should consult with their own advisors, as Hevruta cannot accept responsibility for the sufficiency of this information or for its applicability in any particular situation. It is important that you take care of these matters before you arrive in Israel.

If you become ill, it is important that you take the initiative to let your madrich/a (group leader) know. If you would like to see a doctor, the madrich/a will help you arrange an appointment. In most instances, the medical coverage provided will cover all doctors’ visits (as long as proper procedure is followed — it works similar to an HMO in the US). Some illnesses (i.e. pre-existing ones) and tests may not be covered by the health insurance provider, which is why we require that participants maintain personal medical insurance while on the program.

Program participants are covered by a local health insurance policy that includes treatment and medication without co-pays, deductibles, or paperwork of any kind. A similar policy is issued for participants opting to include an international travel/service add-on. In all cases, the policy excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions, and participants are required to have their own medical insurance policy that does cover any pre-existing conditions – either via their home medical insurance policy or a travel insurance policy.

For participants with prescription medication, we ask that copies of all relevant prescriptions are brought to Israel in the event that the medication needs to be replaced. All medications can be replaced in Israel, but only with an appropriate prescription. Please note that prescriptions are dispensed in Israel by reference to genetic (chemical) formula and not by brand name. With regard to medications with habit-forming qualities, participants may be required to present an official letter stating that such medicine is being used under a doctor’s direction and is necessary for their well-being while abroad. Please note treatment and medication of pre-existing conditions, including replacement of prescriptions, is at the participant’s expense. Participants are encouraged to bring a sufficient supply of medication to cover their entire stay in Israel if possible.

In the event a participant requires emergency medical treatment we will do our very best to contact a parent/guardian to obtain consent. However, in extreme circumstances, we reserve the right to make medical care decisions without contacting a parent/guardian according to our best judgment.

Participants are expected to arrange their own travel to and from Israel. Once in Israel, all travel as part of the program is included.

Participants are regarded as representatives of their families, friends, local communities, and the Jewish people. Recognizing this responsibility, participants are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that will be a credit to themselves and those who care about them.

Attendance
Attendance at every scheduled function (course, program, or other event) of the program is mandatory.

Kashrut
Participants are expected to respect the kosher status of the Shalom Hartman Institute, regardless of their personal practice. Participants’ apartments may house people with a diverse practice regarding kashrut – participants are therefore expected to ensure the comfort of each resident and undergo a collaborative decision-making process that validates each resident’s needs regarding kashrut.
Participants are free to follow their own practice during free time.

Shabbat
Both during “programmed” Shabbatot and “free” Shabbatot, a range of options will be available to participants to celebrate Shabbat in a manner that is meaningful and consistent with their needs. We also encourage participants to use their experience on Hevruta as an opportunity to explore new expressions and practices, learning from their fellow participants and from the diverse Jewish life in Jerusalem and Boston.

Security
Participant safety and security are of utmost importance to the staff. The program works in cooperation with Israeli security authorities to ensure the safety of program participants. Most public areas in Jerusalem check every bag that is brought into the building. Participants are expected to abide by the security directives of the staff at all times to assure their well-being.

Drugs and Alcohol
The use of drugs by any participant during your participation in Hevruta is grounds for dismissal from the program. Participants above Israel’s legal drinking age of 18 may drink alcohol, but alcohol abuse will not be tolerated.

Mutual Exploration and Interdependence
We embrace the idea that all Jews have a special responsibility for one another. Israeli Judaism and American Judaism offer different, yet vibrant expressions of Jewish living. We believe each community can derive significant value from studying and experiencing the other. The dynamics within each community, and between the two communities, are complicated. We embrace those complexities, and believe that through purposeful and caring exchange, both centers of Jewish life will be enhanced.

Pluralism
We actively engage a multiplicity of experiences and perspectives in an environment of mutual respect. The encounter with different points of view prompts us to ask honest and searching questions of ourselves and of one another, and to see this process as a source of wisdom and strength.

Big Ideas Inspiring Action
In this new age of instant global connection, what it means to be Jewish is changing. Unprecedented innovations are driving creative new expressions and helping address new challenges. We push ourselves to think big, expecting nothing less than the transformation of disparate Jewish communities into an interdependent and mutually supportive global Jewish community connected through new, stimulating applications of an ever-evolving ancient tradition. Through our study of this tradition, we will be inspired to improve and advance our world.

Leadership Now
We will set a high bar and expect to celebrate as our participants rise to the occasion. Participants are engaged as serious, capable leaders today, offered exposure to high-level experiences, and equipped with tools to facilitate their success as they pursue their passions. We are not preparing them for some intangible future leadership opportunity – we look for them to contribute meaningfully now.