Hevruta participants live independently in apartments with a mix of Israeli and American peers. The experience of living together involves group decision-making as well as planning social and cultural activities. In this way, students build a pluralistic model of shared communal life with people from different backgrounds and lifestyles, thereby cultivating an environment of mutual respect and nurturing the particular identities of each participant.
Hevruta plans a series of learning opportunities designed to strengthen the bonds between and among participants and explore the rich landscape of Israel. This year’s activities include:
Hike to Jerusalem
At the beginning of the year, students take a four-day hike from Kibbutz Beit Guvrin to Jerusalem. Students sleep and prepare their meals outside, meet interesting people along the route and engage in team-building activities.
Trips to the North and South of Israel
In December, students enjoy a weeklong trek in the south of Israel, and in March they travel to the north. These trips include camping, hiking and meeting people from different parts of the country, thereby exposing students to various communities and ideologies.
Twice a month, students stay in Jerusalem for Shabbat. On those Fridays, they tour the city to gain new understanding of its historical, social, religious, cultural and political structures. Examples of tour themes include:
• Problems of Religion and Space in the Old City
• Municipal Planning and Conservation
• Borders and the Seam Neighborhoods of Jerusalem
• The Israeli Mosaic: Mahane Yehuda Market as a Meeting and Friction Point
• Jerusalem Culture and Art, Old and New
Twice each year, participants travel as a group to celebrate Shabbat beyond Jerusalem. In this way, students experience the diversity of Shabbat in Israel and see the rich cultural and religious contexts in which it is observed.