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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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BBYO launches gap-year Israel experience

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Beyond participants will build a network of Jewish peers from around the world that they can carry with them into college and young adulthood. From left: Sammy Katz, Jacob Levy, Sarah Minion, Sean Frazier.

WASHINGTON — BBYO has launched a pre-college gap-year program in Israel to provide Jewish teens with meaningful Jewish experiences.

The program, Beyond, brings together four partners: Authentic Israel; Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life; Masa Israel Journey and Tel Aviv University, to offer young people a powerful academic experience, along with service opportunities, leadership programming and travel. Beyond is BBYO’s first gap-year offering among its fast-growing menu of Israel experiences.

“Knowing the impact of a gap-year experience in Israel, we feel compelled to leverage our expertise and experience in providing powerful Israel experiences to increase the number of young Jews engaging in long-term study in Israel,” said BBYO executive director Matthew Grossman.

“Our teens have requested a gap-year experience, Israeli and North American Jewish leaders have called for more of these programs, and we feel uniquely capable of delivering something scalable and life-changing.”

Beyond applicants can choose between a five-month and nine-month experience, both of which are eligible for an automatic Masa Israel scholarship of $1,000, with up to $3,000 more being available based on financial need.

With Tel Aviv University serving as the program’s home base, participants have the opportunity to also explore Europe, engage in community service in Africa, and develop new skills such as scuba diving and cooking. 

“Programs like Beyond prepare students to thrive in a competitive university setting and shape their worldview in a way that gives meaningful context to their academic studies” said Larry Moneta, vice-president of student affairs at Duke University.

Pnina Gadai Agenyahu, director of Hillel at Tel Aviv University, said, “We know that teens who participate in BBYO programs are much more likely than their peers to seek out positions of leadership and contribute to the world around them. We are pleased to partner in the program and welcome them to our dynamic campus.

“Being in Israel and Tel Aviv specifically offers the unique learning experiences of an environment that is both ancient and modern – where biblical archeology and microchip development are part of the fabric of daily life.”

For more information about the gap-year program, visit www.beyondyear.org.

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