The Tikvah Overseas Seminar program was definitely one of the best parts of my year. The sessions allowed me to learn about a wide range of issues I had always felt I should know more about from teachers who were not only experts in their respective fields but also engaging presenters. The topics we discussed added a unique flavor to my year by broadening my scope of learning without removing it from the religious sphere, by preparing me to engage in dialogue that may well occur on a college campus, and by showing me where I could potentially direct the feelings of loyalty and responsibility for Israel and the Jewish people that I had spent the year cultivating. It also should not be under-emphasized how much fun we had — every session and shabbaton included plenty of laughs, lively debate, great company, and of course, excellent food!
Central / Migdal Oz / Harvard
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 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 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 Tikvah Israel program played a big role in my year in Israel. The lectures about Israeli society greatly enhanced my experience of living in Israel because I was able to better understand the country around me. The presenters, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and fields, are specialists in their respective fields, and gave us a unique opportunity to learn from a real expert on their topic. Overall, my Tikvah experience in Israel greatly enhanced my learning and my understanding of Israel and the world. I would highly recommend it to students going to Israel for the year!
Maimonides / Migdal Oz / Princeton
“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
Looking back on my year in Israel, it’s hard to over-emphasize the role the Tikvah Overseas Student Seminars played in it. We had the exceptional opportunity to interact with contemporary academic heavyweights as well as exposure to the great timeless debates of Western civilization. In this way, the program itself was not only a refreshing change of pace from yeshiva learning, but also a great supplement. It paralleled my Talmud study, and intertwined the two into one grand conversation. The program also served as great preparation for college, from discussion of topics such as moral relativism to struggling through difficult philosophical texts. Yet ultimately, the highlight of the program was the passionate seminar debate and the friendships formed in the pursuit of truth.
SAR / Eretz Hatzvi / University of Chicago
The Tikvah Overseas Student program was a critical part of my year in Israel. It provided an intellectual forum, outside of midrasha, to explore questions of morality, arguments for the liberal arts, and dilemmas related to social gaps. I consider these topics critical to discuss before entering college, where I will surely encounter them in both conversation and practice. Tikvah was a remarkable opportunity to supplement my midrasha studies and prepare me for my future educational experiences.
Frisch / Nishmat / University of Maryland