What is the format of the TOS program?

TOS is a hybrid of both in-person and online programming, with the goal of getting the best of both types of formats. Our seminars will be conducted online from the convenience of your dorm room, taught by experienced teachers. The technical parts of these classes are maintained by teaching assistants to ensure a smooth class experience and to allow the seminar leaders to focus on teaching. Over the course of each semester, we’ll have four in-person events at a central Jerusalem location. Each of these events will feature a lecture or debate with leading Israel public figures. Beforehand, we’ll have in-person discussions with your particular seminar group that will allow you to meet your classmates in person. Additionally, we’ll serve a delicious meal during which you can meet students from all of the different seminars.

How many seminars can I enroll in?

In the second semester, you may enroll in one semester. 

How much does this program cost?

The program is free of charge to the students.

Do I need to be an alumna or alumnus of a Tikvah Fund high school program to participate?

No. The program is open to all post high-school students studying abroad in Israel who are in Israel for the duration of the academic year.

What are the requirements for participants?

Students must commit to attendance at each seminar and event, completing the assigned readings before each seminar, and actively participating in group discussions. They should also locate an area on their school’s campus that has a stable internet connection for the online seminar. The reading assignments will be very reasonable and take into account the busy schedule of shana ba-aretz programs. Attendance at each online seminar is mandatory unless one receives an excused absence. Students who are unable to meet these requirements may be asked to leave the program.

Which yeshivot, seminaries, and gap-year programs have participated in TOS?

Since the program began in 2010, TOS has included participants from over twenty-five different yeshivot, midrashot, and other gap-year programs.

Is the TOS schedule coordinated with participating institutions?

One of the advantages of online programming is that it allows for students to participate from any location. As such, we do not anticipate too many scheduling conflicts for the online seminars. Students who will be on a school trip on a given day will receive an excused absence.

What happens if I have a school program on the day of an in-person Friday event?

Occasionally, your institution might have a trip or an event on a Friday. If that event is optional, we expect you to attend the TOS event. If that event is mandatory, we will help coordinate with your school to work out a way to attend both the TOS seminar as well as your school’s program. In some cases, this might include finding alternative transportation options to the Tikvah event (like after Friday morning shiur) or TOS providing transportation to your school’s event (such as a shabbaton). If the conflict is unavoidable, the student will receive an excused absence from the TOS event. 

May I attend the in-person events if I do not participate in the online seminars?

No, the Friday events are only open to seminar fellows.

How do I set up my interview? What should I expect in my interview?

Once you have completed the entire registration form and clicked “submit,” you will have the opportunity to schedule a 15-20 minute online interview. The interview is informal, and just serves as a way for the Tikvah staff to learn more about the applicants. During the interview, applicants will have a chance to speak about their hobbies, interests, and aspirations. They will also be asked about their opinions on various current events, political debates, or intellectual queries, including those relating to the themes of this program. There are no right or wrong answers—we promise! Students are simply expected to articulate their thoughts on a range of matters.

Corona-Era Restrictions: What if I’m sick or not feeling well on the day of an event?

TOS strictly follows all Ministry of Health regulations. All attendees must be fully vaccinated. We expect students to make the maximum effort to attend all in-person events. In light of Covid-19 concerns, students who are not feeling well should be in touch with the assistant director, who will set up a Zoom call so that the fellow may participate remotely.  The attendance system is entirely based on an honor code.

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