Gap Year and Enrichment Programs

Choosing to defer college for a year can be an enriching experience for many students. Most colleges not only allow, but strongly encourage students to take this step. (In fact, along with the Harvard College acceptance letter comes another letter encouraging students to consider a gap year before entering as a first-year student.) FJA hosts many representatives from gap year programs, including yeshivot, seminaries and Israel study travel.  
While there are several excellent programs offering gap year experiences to all high school students, Jewish students have a unique opportunity to study in Israel. There is a wide variety of programs ranging from Torah study in a seminary program to working on a Kibbutz, and everything in between. Generally the Israel programs offer a combination of intense Hebrew immersion, formal education, travel, cultural immersion and community service. The differences are the emphasis on each of these aspects. Students who study in Israel before attending college tend to be more mature and serious in their studies, more aware of themselves as Jews, and more aware of the world around them, especially Israel’s place in the world.

Over the years, many FJA students have participated in programs in Israel, and we are fortunate to have representatives from these programs visit students here, and even provide them with their required interviews right at the school. We strongly encourage our students to attend these presentations.

Even before the end of high school, there are many opportunities for enrichment through volunteer organizations, on college campuses and in Israel. Not only do these experiences look great on a resume, they are excellent ways to learn about yourself, develop your interests and connect with other like-minded teens.

Gap Year Opportunities

+Aardvark Israel Gap Year Programs

Aardvark Israel’s mission is to maximize the number of young Jews coming to Israel for meaningful, life-changing experiences that strengthen their Jewish identity, deepen their commitment to Israel, and foster their personal growth.  The core program is a 9-month experience in Israel that combines immersion into Israeli society, service to the community through volunteer work and internships, and learning about Israel and Judaism through both formal academic and informal educational encounters.  The program is fully accredited, and students may earn college credit for their coursework while on the program.  The 9-month program is divided into two semesters- the first semester, running from September to January, is located in Jerusalem.  The second semester, running from January to May, is located in Tel Aviv.

For more information, please call 1-877-634-0162 or visit

+Atid Gap Experience in Israel
Embark on a journey of personal exploration and maturation, while making friendships and memories that will last a lifetime with Atid Gap Experience.  Atid Gap Experience allows you to choose the length of your program (3, 6, or 9 months).  Atid features two experiences: The Community Involvement Experience and the Kibbutz Experience.  The length of your program will determine the experiences in which you will participate.

For more information, go to

+Bar Ilan- Israel Experience Program
~Bar Ilan is a world class university~

*Ranked among top universities in the world

*Largest English Language library in the Middle East

*33,000 students

*The world’s largest Jewish studies faculty with over 1,500 courses

Israel Experience offers the benefits of a relatively small, intimate program limited to 100 English speaking students combined with the resources and infrastructure of a top notch university.

If you are interested in this program, visit

+Fairleigh Dickinson University Israel Program
Fairleigh Dickinson University, in partnership with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University, is offering graduating seniors an opportunity to combine the two options by enrolling in their new Freshman Year in Israel Program.  Students entering the FDU Freshman Year in Israel Program earn FDU credits while studying in a specially designed academic program at either HU or TAU.  They return to the US with sophomore standing having experienced all that a Gap Year in Israel has to offer.  Since they earn FDU credits, there are no worries about whether the credits will transfer back to the US.

Fairleigh Dickinson University is the largest private university in New Jersey and is located in a large and vibrant Jewish community.  The campus is surrounded by services and amenities, including kosher restaurants, cafes, markets, shops, synagogues, community centers, and social activities, as well as potential host families for students wishing to live in a kosher home while studying at FDU.

For more information, visit the college counseling office to view a brochure, or go to

+Freshman/Academic Gap Program- Hebrew University
The Freshman/Academic Gap Program is specially designed for first-year university students, whether they plan to continue their studies in Israel or back home.  Students may enroll for the entire year or for either the autumn or spring semester.  Completion of the year program enables students to enter North American universities with advanced standing.

A variety of first-year courses are offered in the areas of Israel and Middle Eastern Studies, Religion, Brain and Behavioral Sciences, and Environmental Studies.  Students benefit from regular meetings with the Freshman advisor, who helps them organize their studies and adapt to university life.  The academic program is complemented by a package of extracurricular social and cultural activities as well as tours across the country.

For more information, please visit

+Kivunim Gap Year and Summer Programs
Kivunim is offering various opportunities for both Gap Year and Summer Programs. Kivunim focuses on enhancing understanding of the history and contemporary life of international Jewish communities. Students can experience trips to the countries of Greece, Bulgaria, Morocco, England, Spain, Turkey, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and India.

For more information about both the available Summer Programs and the Gap Year Programs, please visit

+Nativ - The College Leadership Program in Israel
Nativ is a challenging academic year program dedicated to creating and inspiring the Conservative Jewish leaders of tomorrow. Nativ, which means “path” in Hebrew, provides a unique opportunity to explore new directions on the journey to becoming a Jewish adult. From September to May Nativ participants are immersed in the rich and diverse society of Israel, exploring the land and enjoying a fulfilling Conservative Jewish lifestyle.

For further information about Nativ, please visit

+Ma'ase Olam
The Ma’ase Olam-Tzofim program is a revolutionary new approach to gap year for high school graduates aged 17-19 at the start of the program, featuring 11-months of group living, meaningful social action in marginalized communities, and a profound exchange with parallel groups of Israelis. In addition, the program features constant mentorship and guidance, and a groundbreaking educational approach. You will participate in intellectually rigorous seminars where you will learn about the challenges present in Israeli society and the role that members of the Diaspora play in shaping their solutions. The educational program will also highlight topics including practical service techniques, Hebrew study, Jewish philosophy and the history of the Jewish Nation.

For more information, please visit:

+Masa Israel Journey
Masa Israel Journey provides more than 8,500 Jewish young adults each year with the opportunity to participate in a 5-12 month volunteer, academic, or internship experience in Israel.  Masa Israel provides every participant, ages 18-30, with grants and scholarships, and Masa Israel programs include gap year, college and post college experiences.

Visit this informative website for great information:

+Nachshon- the Israeli Mechina
Brought to you by Masa, Nachshon gives participants the opportunity to be immersed in a completely Israeli environment with their Israeli peers for a year of leadership, development, volunteering, learning, and fun.  The program is conducted entirely in Hebrew and the educational program focuses on leadership development, Zionism, Jewish identity, and Israeli society.  Classes are taught by Israeli instructors and personalities.  Participants are eligible for grants and scholarships for this program through Masa.

For more information, go to

+Paying for Masa
Masa Israel programs provides generous funding to participants.  Click the link below to learn more about the various ways to fund your Masa trip.

+Thinking Beyond Borders Gap Year
Thinking Beyond Borders is a growing community committed to changing the world by translating learning into action.  This Gap Year program is designed for students to explore international development through global service learning and academic study.

It offers a Global Gap year program, an 8-month program that includes experiences in Ecuador, China, India, and South Africa.  It also offers an Ecuador Gap Semester, during which students live with host families and work with development experts addressing public health in the Andes Mountains.

For more information, please visit

+Tzedek America
Tzedek America is an experiential nine month residential national gap year program based in Los Angeles. The program is designed to encourage you to embrace your passions, explore what drives you, and find meaning in your life. Through national and international travel, social justice internships, adventure programming, and shared responsibilities, you will begin to see and experience firsthand the challenges facing America today.

The Tzedek America experience teaches leadership, communication and confidence building skills that will help you make a difference. These lifelong learning skills will enable you to create a successful and purposeful life while you work to make a better world.

For more information, please visit

+Tzofim Maíase Olam
The Tzofim Maíase Olam program is a revolutionary new approach to gap year, featuring 10-months of group living, intensive social action in marginalized communities, meaningful exchange with parallel groups of Israelis, constant mentorship and guidance, and a groundbreaking educational process including everything from practical service techniques and Hebrew study to Jewish philosophy and the history of Judaism.

It is open to 17-19 year olds, and Hebrew is not required.

For more information, please visit

+WUJS Israel Hadassah
WUJS Israel is a 5 month post college program that offers the ultimate Israel experience for Jewish young adults from around the world. The program is based in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. WUJS Israel allows you the opportunity to intern with one of Israel’s leading companies or NGOs, or develop your artistic talent, while studying Hebrew and more. WUJS Israel will also help in your Aliyah process as part of its curriculum.

For more information, please visit

+WUJS Israel Hadassah Arts Program
Drawing inspiration from Jerusalem, participants in the WUJS Jerusalem Arts program are able to combine studies in Judiasm, Zionism, and Hebrew language with their own personal art medium such as visual art, music, photography, writing, and performing.  The holistic educational approach incorporates time in the classroom, weekly field trips, overnight hikes, meetings with Israeli peers and artists, volunteer options, and a variety of fun and enriching activities.

For more information, go to

+Yeshivat Eretz HaTzvi
Eretz HaTzvi is a proud Zionist yeshiva which celebrates the Divine gift of Medinat Yisrael and bestows a love of Eretz Yisrael. Many students choose to make aliya and serve in the IDF. Eretz HaTzvi partners with Bnei Akiva internationally. Yeshivat Eretz HaTzvi run numerous programs for soldiers including the famous “Pizza Runs”, delivering burgers on Purim to an army base, and sending other care packages to the army.

For more information, go to

+Yeshivat Har Etzion
Yeshivat Har Etzion is one of the largest Hesder Yeshivot in Israel, wherein students combine their army service with advanced Yeshiva study in a five-year program.  In addition to the Israeli students, more than 120 students from overseas come for a year or two after high school to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the Yeshiva, thriving on the warm camaraderie and open, challenging approach to learning.

For more information, go to

+Young Judaea
Founded in 1909, Young Judaea is the oldest Zionist youth movement in the United States. It seeks to build Jewish identity and Zionist commitment in American Jewish youth and young adults.

For more information, go to