Frequently Asked Questions
Who sponsors the Tikvah Overseas Students (TOS) Institute?
The program is sponsored by the Tikvah Fund. The Tikvah Fund is a philanthropic foundation and ideas institution committed to supporting the intellectual, religious, and political leaders of the Jewish people and the Jewish State. Tikvah runs and invests in a wide range of initiatives in Israel, the United States, and around the world, including educational programs, publications, and fellowships. Our animating mission and guiding spirit is to advance Jewish excellence and Jewish flourishing in the modern age. Tikvah is politically Zionist, economically free-market oriented, culturally traditional, and theologically open-minded. Yet in all issues and subjects, we welcome vigorous debate and big arguments. Our institutes, programs, and publications all reflect this spirit of bringing forward the serious alternatives for what the Jewish future should look like, and bringing Jewish thinking and leaders into conversation with Western political, moral, and economic thought.
Please visit the Tikvah Fund website to learn more about our different programs.
How much does this program cost?
The program is free of charge to the students.
What are the requirements for TOS participants?
Students must commit to constant attendance, completing the assigned readings before each seminar, and actively participating in group discussions. The reading assignments will be reasonable and take into account the busy schedule of gap-year programs. Attendance at each event is mandatory unless one receives an excused absence. Students who are unable to meet these requirements may be asked to leave the program.
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.
How do I set up my interview?
Once you have completed the entire application and clicked “submit,” you will be contacted via email to set up an interview. If you need to separately send your high school transcript or letter of recommendation, please have it mailed to TOS@tikvahfund.org as soon as possible.
We encourage students to apply before the application deadline so that we can set up a preferred interview slot that will best fit their schedule. Early applicants may receive an interview at their yeshiva or midrasha in the week before the application deadline. Please apply early to be eligible for this convenient option.
What should I expect in my interview?
Interviews take place in a central Jerusalem location. 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.
When will I hear back regarding my status?
Acceptance letters will be e-mailed by Sunday evening, October 14th. The program will start on Friday, October 26, 2018.
Which yeshivot, seminaries, and gap-year programs have participants in TOS?
Since the program began in 2010, TOS has included participants from over twenty different yeshivot, midrashot, and other “shana ba-aretz” or gap-year programs.
Is the TOS schedule coordinated with the participating institutions?
To minimize conflicts with your program’s schedule, we plan our events on Fridays (9:00 a.m.–1:15 p.m.) or Shabbat, when most students have an official day off. Occasionally, your institution might have a trip planned on that 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 or TOS providing transportation to your school’s event. If the conflict is unavoidable, the student will receive an excused absence from the TOS seminar.
Are there some programs that have schedules incompatible with TOS participation?
We have found that there are a few gap-year programs with schedules that do not allow for participation in TOS. These are programs that usually include extensive travel, irregular schedules or alternating locations, or extensive time in northern Israel. We encourage all post-high school students in Israel to apply to the program. If you are nervous about this issue, we are happy to discuss it with you.
What if my parents or older siblings are visiting from overseas when there is a TOS event?
Bring them along! Visiting parents and other family members are always welcome to join us at TOS events.
What if I’m sick on the day of the seminar?
We expect students to make the maximum effort to attend all TOS seminars, including times when one is “slightly under the weather” or “tired.” When students have a high fever or are bedridden, they should be in touch with the student coordinator who will naturally issue an excused absence. The attendance system is entirely based on an honor code.
If you have further questions, write us at TOS@tikvahfund.org.