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Spending the Year in Israel – Our Way

Arutz 7 News | 30 October, 2019

2e2cf055 ce7f 467e b4d8 b40f83782cd5On Monday, October 28th, this year’s cohort of the Elaine and Norm Brodsky Darkaynu Programs arrived at Ben Gurion airport. The chaperoned group was greeted by peers who had arrived earlier, as well as administrative staff, madrichot and madrichim holding huge welcome signs and bearing snacks and drinks to refuel the students after their long flight.  

04740f65 29bd 4fb8 97a0 9589cb52c511Upon arrival, students – hailing from Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Santiago, Toronto, St. Louis, New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. – headed to their respective campuses: OTS’s Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem, where the young women will be ‘sidestreamed’ alongside their typical counterparts from overseas; and Alon Shvut, where the young men are housed alongside their peers at Yeshivat Har Etzion. They are poised to embark upon a unique and phenomenal year-long experience of Torah learning, touring Israel, volunteering and working, through which they will acquire life skills, independence and self-esteem.

26041fbe b719 4a08 a99c 638d5782f7f1“We tend to get caught up in the needs of our day-to-day routine, but the beginning of the year is always filled with excitement and emotion,” said Avi Ganz, director of Darkaynu’s program for men.  “Even now, on the eve of our 14th year, I’m struck by the import of each student’s journey.”

Darkaynu Founder and Director, Elana Goldscheider added, “It is always especially rewarding to see how our returning students take on leadership roles and, as the veterans, help the new students off the plane and with their luggage.”

5b4f2c17 b93e 49d9 bcd5 77fb06317b0dAs the only Orthodox Year-in-Israel program for young adults with special needs, the Darkaynu programs fill an important role: too often, these young men and women struggle to maintain meaningful relationships with their peers during their high school years. When they do develop meaningful relationships, they are ended abruptly after graduation as thousands of typical young adults make their way to Israel for a year of study and self-discovery. Thanks to Darkaynu, individuals with special needs can benefit from the same experiences and opportunities as their mainstream peers.

a79f24bc 1d12 4cf5 ab35 14acfd8910b1“People at home keep asking me if it’s so hard to send our (physically disabled) son to yeshiva in Israel,” shared the father of one student. “I tell them it would be so hard not to. He has no social life anymore. The summer was very challenging and we were counting down the days.” The father added, “Thanks for having this program. There’s nothing, anywhere, that’s anything like it.”

Read this article on the Arutz 7/Israel International News website


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