Yeshiva University Summer Program Offers Students ‘Year in Israel’ Experience in Just One Month

Yeshiva University announced today that registration has begun for the fifth annual “July in Jerusalem Program,” a month-long Israel experience—combining Torah learning, volunteering and group touring—for college students with limited backgrounds in Jewish studies. The program, scheduled to run from July 5 through August 2, is geared towards men and women who are unable to spend a full gap year in Israel and are interested in an in-depth exploration of their Judaism.

July in JerusalemA project of the University’s Mechinah/Basic Jewish Studies division, the program’s classes are taught at a basic level and allow students to learn for the joy of learning without the pressures of tests and homework. Still, students not enrolled at Yeshiva University can earn college credits for their participation in the program.

“Our goal is to give college students from across North America the full ‘year in Israel’ experience – complete with classes, community service projects and trips – in just one month,” said Rabbi Zev Reichman, director of the Mechinah Program for Men. “For many students, the program affords them the rare chance to immerse themselves in Jewish learning while participating in a variety of meaningful, Jewish-identity building activities.”

Program participants will attend daily morning classes, including Hebrew Ulpan, Bible, Jewish Philosophy and Jewish Law, taught by respected rabbis and teachers—experts in each field of study—and spend their afternoons volunteering at hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, food distribution centers and various terror relief projects in Sderot, and touring Israel’s most famous sites. Activities have also included kayaking down the Jordan River, exploring ancient caves, hiking, snorkeling and spiritually uplifting Shabbat programming in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Over the last four years, the “July in Jerusalem Program”—generously sponsored by Gerald and Mary Swartz—has brought more than 85 students from Yeshiva University and many other North American colleges to Israel for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“This unique program has been transformational for all who have participated,” adds Shoshana Schechter, director of the Basic Jewish Studies Program for Women.  “Students begin to see themselves as part of the chain of Jewish history and continuity, they realize that they are an integral part of the Jewish community and are inspired to continue learning, growing and developing their Jewish identities.”

Apply for the 2011 July in Jerusalem program here.