Head-to-Head: To Gap or Not to Gap

No Need for a Gap

This year, the traditional choice of taking a gap year to attend Yeshiva in Israel before college in America has drastically decreased for this senior class. To my peers’ surprise, I was actually one of the students not interested in the gap year in Israel and was bombarded with the repetitive question, “why not?”

I’ve grown up religiously my whole life, constantly reminded of my Jewish heritage, and I love it. I’m headstrong about learning proper laws and customs. To this day, I remember rules and guidelines that I learned from as far back as third grade, and it is all because I was determined to know why.

The Torah was not only given to us as a written text to learn and understand the stories of our forefathers. It was also given with an oral portion for the purpose of unifying communities and providing hands on guiding and demonstrations. It also strengthens a person’s memorization skills because it was not written down to look back on later. When given a dilemma, I am always tempted to learn the procedure through which I can resolve it which, in turn, allows me to remember it for the future. The greatest thing is how “free paced” it all is; I don’t have to jeopardize a year to learn all I can, especially when it isn’t relevant to me or what I do. By learning it as I start college, I can apply my new knowledge to my life out in the real world. I know that learning Torah is what we, as Jews, do in order to better ourselves which I believe can be done without a whole year solely devoted to it.  

Therefore, I find in my heart that the way to learn Torah best is in the form of gaining experience that will benefit one’s path of Torah and one’s connection with G-d, not necessarily with a gap year.

By: Yosef Nahon (12th Grade)

Gap is the Best Choice

I believe that a gap year is imperative to all graduating seniors because it gives a rest from the stressful four years of high school. In addition to giving us this break, seminaries and yeshivas allow us take a closer look at Judaism as a whole.

This is the first year where every student has a chance to get away from the classroom and tests and choose which topics they want to learn. It gives students the ability to ask questions and receive the answers they are looking for, making it easier to understand and accept our religion.

Choosing to take a gap year prior to college is an opportunity that won’t come around again and is a once in a lifetime chance to go wherever you want, learn whatever you want, and see the world from a fresh perspective. It also allows Jewish youth to see how their religion is practiced in a variety of ways and abilities. By the end of the year, students on a gap year will ideally be able to choose which path they would like to take in life, whether they are comfortable becoming more religious or less religious. Seminary/yeshiva is the place for people to find themselves as individuals and as Jews. I am excited to meet the rabbis and teachers who will inspire me and potentially change my life.

For our entire lives, we are almost 100 percent dependant on our parents for everything. This gap year is a much needed glimpse into adulthood for teenagers coming out of high school. It allows teenagers to start making their own decisions and act as individuals. Being alone for a year teaches independence and maturity. This is a year for not only spiritual growth but internal development as well.

By: Ariella Wolfson (12th Grade)

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