Gap year programs in Israel, attended by thousands of Diaspora Jewish high school grads every year, are growing in popularity. Gap year program participants can find opportunities to study about Judaism, Israel, and Hebrew (in some cases for college credit), volunteer, travel, and befriend peers from Israel and around the world.
These programs for North American high school graduates often lead to personal growth and strengthened Jewish identity. For more gap year programs,visit Masa Israel.
Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI)
Founded in 1972, AMHSI, is the only pluralist, co-educational, English-language study abroad program in Israel for high school students. The program boasts more than 20,000 alumni!
Beyond Gap Year
BBYO's pluralistic "Beyond "Gap Year in Israel is an enrichment program for Jewish high school grads. With 5-month or 9-month options, the program merges academic study, leadership development, community service, educational travel, and Jewish life experiences in Israel.
Bnei Akiva Hachshara
On Bnei Akiva's Hachshara program, participants learn, volunteer and tour (including a trip to Poland) in an effort to develop and deepen their religious identity and sense of personal responsibility for the future of Israel and the Jewish people. Familiarization with real life in Israel helps the students prepare for aliyah or leadership roles within Bnei Akiva and their home community. Participants in Bnei Akiva's Hachshara gap year program grow in Torah knowledge, enhance their leadership skills, and deepen their understanding of Israel and its people.
Nativ offers nine months of discovery in Israel to recent high school graduates (ages 17-19) who want to learn about themselves and explore who they would like to become, while earning college credits. From September to May, Nativ participants engage themselves in Israeli society, exploring the land and enjoying a fulfilling Conservative Jewish lifestyle, which includes university or yeshiva studies, and innovative leadership training.
Habonim Dror Workshop 64
Habonim Dror Workshop, the oldest running Israel program for North American youth, is a nine-month work/study program for high school graduates. Participants experience Israel from the inside (agricultural kibbutz, an urban collective, and various volunteer positions) and meet peers from around the world (England, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc.). The program also includes a trip to Poland to learn about the Holocaust, with an emphasis on the involvement of the youth movements in resistance.
Kivunim seeks to help Jewish Diaspora youth forge a lifelong relationship with Israel and the Jewish People. This gap year program was founded and is directed by Peter Geffen, founder of The Abraham Joshua Heschel School in NYC. Through travels, its academic course of study, social responsibility/coexistence programming and spiritual and Jewish life experience, Kivunim aims to give form and content to the Jewish person for the future. Participants are based in Jerusalem, but travel every five to six weeks to countries such as Morocco, India, Turkey, Greece, the Ukraine, Spain, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.
Shnat Netzer is a unique 10-month leadership training program for young adults in Israel that develops the skills and knowledge necessary for them to become leaders in the Reform movement. This gap year program in Israel facilitates personal development and offers study about Jewish and Zionist ideals all within a Reform Jewish environment.
Shnat Sherut Tzabar
Tzofim's Shnat Sherut Tzabar is a community service year of volunteering in a development town/underprivileged neighborhood in Israel. The volunteers (ages 18-23) live in shared apartments with their Israeli peers in Tzofim, sharing the same budget (a stipend for living expenses is provided), responsibilities of independent living (shopping, cleaning, food preparation), and goals.
Young Judaea Gap Year in Israel
Young Judaea Year Course in Israel is a nine-month program for recent high school graduates. The program immerses college-bound students into life in Israel, blending Hebrew, academic study, community living, volunteering, travel, and fun. Participants can choose different tracks (athletic, culinary arts, visual arts, performing arts, medicine, fashion design) and add-on trips to other parts of the world.