I cannot emphasize enough the extent to which TOS positively impacted my formative year in Israel. As I opened myself up to new religious texts and ideas in the Beit Midrash, Tikvah allowed me to sharpen my opinions on foundational issues through interactive seminars and lectures from leading thinkers. In Tikvah, I was thinking deeply about how our values as Zionists shape the thriving future of Judaism. I would certainly recommend Tikvah to any shana ba-aretz student looking to deepen their understanding of the political and moral dilemmas confronting Jews around the world
SAR High School / Migdal Oz / Barnard College
The Tikvah Overseas Student seminar provides an excellent opportunity for yeshiva students to deepen their grasp on societal trends impacting the Jewish community and broader society. The reading materials are fascinating and informative. Discussions, led by an experienced and engaging teacher, allow participants to express opinions, exchange ideas, and develop a sensitivity for the subtleties of the great debates in social thought. This intellectual stimulation combined with a reasonable sprinkling of friendly banter made Tikvah one of the highlights of my year in Israel.
Israel Henry Beren High School (Ner Yisrael) / KBY / YU
As someone who is very interested in politics, it was great to learn about policy questions through a Jewish perspective. We read thought-provoking books like Jews and Power and Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination that brought up important religious questions that enhanced my Torah studies this year. We had lively debates led by Rabbi Brody that got to the heart of every book and always left me wanting to learn more. I am so thankful for the opportunity to make new friends while discussing captivating and relevant books.
Central High School / Tiferet / Hunter College
The Tikvah Overseas Institute served as an excellent balance to my year in Israel. I formed close relationships with down-to-earth people in a meaningful forum that discussed the meaning of Judaism and a Jewish State and their relationship to the West and Western values. How can Israel balance governing as a democracy and creating policy to advance a Jewish State? Are Zionism and nationalism beneficial for the world? How do religion and Judaism fare in a postmodern society? By tackling questions like these throughout the year while continuing our studies in our respective programs, we received a profoundly rich experience that strengthened an already life-changing year.
Berman Hebrew Academy / Yeshivat Oryata / University of Maryland
The Tikvah Overseas Seminar was an integral part of my gap year in Israel. While my foremost dedication was studying Torah in the Beit Midrash, Tikvah enabled me to study secular topics as they affect the Jewish condition, adding significantly to my Torah learning. The incredible lecturers presented their topics with expertise and facilitated heated debates that engaged all the participants and their many differing opinions. Yet along with a deeper understanding of the topics and an interest to learn more, the participants formed deep friendships with one another founded on intellectual query and search for truth. The dedicated staff and participants, informative speakers, and gripping debates provided an experience that perfectly complemented my Torah learning and profoundly.
Maayanot / TVA / IDF
The Tikvah Overseas Students Seminars greatly supplemented my learning experience, allowing me to maintain my interests in cultural and political topics while still dedicating a year to studying Torah. The slew of prominent speakers—from rabbis to political analysts to professors—did not disappoint. In addition to relaying their knowledge on key topics facing our generation, they were able to stimulate memorable, foundational discussions among the program’s participants. The Shabbatonim truly brought the students from across the Yeshiva-Midrasha spectrum together, fleshing out the debates in a cordial and learning-conducive weekend. By the program’s conclusion, I had come away with a deeper understanding of the issues affecting our world, hungry to learn more about them.
YULA / Har Etzion / University of Chicago
The program was the perfect complement to my seminary experience. While spending most of my time in the Beit Midrash, Tikvah gave me an opportunity to zoom out and contemplate vital issues pertaining to the world as a whole. The individual sessions were both edifying and thought provoking. But perhaps equally as important, the program was really fun. I had the opportunity to become friends with students from other yeshivot and midrashot, with the highlight being the three shabbatonim we spent together in a hotel. It is incredible how frequently I already make reference to many of the texts and ideas we read and discussed in the program. Tikvah was not only the most productive way I could have spent my Fridays—it truly enhanced my year as a whole.
Torah Academy for Girls / MMY / Stern College
I found the Tikvah Overseas program to be a greatly worthwhile experience to occur alongside my seminary experience. In seminary classes, we learned the intricacies of the Jewish religion and tradition; in Tikvah seminars, we learned about why this tradition (and tradition in general) is so valuable, how to integrate it with Western values, and what all of this means in regard to the state of Israel. After participating in this program I feel I have not only gained much knowledge, but also many friendships with likeminded, high quality people. Overall, the content, speakers and students are interesting, engaging, and make for an enriching experience.
Ulpanat Orot Girls School / Lindenbaum / U of Toronto