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Young Judaea Year Course Expands at Tremendous Rate

Genever McBain


(NEW YORK, NY – December 17, 2007)Year Course, Young Judaea’s gap-year program for post high-school graduates in Israel is experiencing a joyful explosion of programming – and registration numbers. According to the latest figures, registration for the 2008-9 array of Year Course programs is nine times greater than at this time last year.

This 800 percent upsurge in enrollees – from 25 last year at this time to 225 now – is the result of a number of factors, not least of which are additional programs with particular appeal to 18- and 19-year-olds interested in spending a year in Israel. Their parents seem to be happy, too.

According to Keith Berman, Director of Year Course: “We are seeing a larger number of parents who believe in the value of a gap-year program in Israel for their children.  The benefits of spending freshman university year in Israel with Young Judaea are clearly seen in both the strengthening of their children's Jewish identity and in their preparation for university.”

Every Year Course program is divided into three parts: academic study at Beit Ar-El, Young Judaea’s educational center in Jerusalem; volunteerism in Bat Yam/Holon, where participants engage in an array of educational activities with local school children; and Israel Experience, where participants perform a variety of activities designed to familiarize them with the land and people of Israel.

Specialized tracks were developed several years ago, most notably Shalem, which is under Orthodox supervision and aimed at U.S. graduates of Orthodox high schools and yeshivot, and Shevet, which allows and encourages participants to expand their religious horizons by exploring the rituals, traditions and laws of Judaism.  

Last year Year Course introduced two Olami tracks, which not only take students to Israel but to countries around the world: The Zionist Revolution (France, Eastern Europe, Morocco, Ethiopia) and The Lost Jewish Communities (Portugal, Uganda, South Africa, India). This year there will be five tracks, with the addition of Israel, Africa and the Jews (Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tunisia); Israel and Islam (Mauritania, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Morocco), Sephardic Judaism and Zionism (Spain, Turkey, Greece, Holland).

In addition, this year for the first time, students can choose from five specialized tracks, all in Israel: Performing or Visual Arts, Culinary Arts, Medicine, Design and Athletics. It is also possible to enroll in “Classic Year Course,” a general curriculum without specialized options for the three core components.

For more information, please contact: israelprograms@youngjudaea.org or 800-725-0612.

Date: 12/17/2007 12:00:00 AM

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