Get to Know: Dr. Avi Rose, Director of Academics and Education

Hi YJ world, my name is Dr. Avi Rose and I am the Director of Academics and Education. Why the double title you ask? Because we at Year Course are doubly committed to learning. On the one hand, many students on YC seek academic credit to get their college careers off to a great start. So, we work with the American Jewish University to give those credits at the highest possible standard, with instructors who are trained and experienced in their field of expertise. On the other hand, we are a movement program, dedicated to our ideals of Judaism, Zionism, Leadership, Social Action and Pluralism. It is my job to create learning  that includes all these elements in a way that is interesting and meaningful. It’s a job I love!

I’m a relative latecomer to YJ, I joined the movement when I joined the YJ team in 2003. I’m pleased to say that ever since, I’ve done my best to bring out the best in our movement. I’ve taught hundreds of students in all those years and I couldn’t be more proud of them and their accomplishments. They are part of a huge network of Judaeans who are doing their part to change the world in large and small ways. Everywhere I go in my professional life, I always end up meeting one of those Judean alumni, they seem to be in almost every field. The one thing they all have in common is a sense of mission and purpose. Almost all of them will tell you that they got this from their YJ upbringing.

I even bought my treasured Mah Jonng set from a Year Course grad who was on the program before I was born. She answered an ad I placed online and we ended up chatting for hours about her YC and how it changed her life. I think of her and her journey every time I play.

I’ve lived in Israel since 2002, after many years of going back and forth between Jerusalem and Canada. After completing my Phd, I decided that it was time to ‘take the plunge’ and fulfill my dream of making Israel my home. A few years later, I met a great British guy and he agreed to build a home with me here in Israel. Today, we live in the capital where we are raising our twin children. Our kids love to meet “Abba’s students” so don’t be surprised if they show up on campus and ask you to play.

In my years at YJ, I’ve loved nothing more than watching students face their challenges. I’ve worked with students who dreamed of achieving educational or professional goals, overcome personal obstacles, or simply try out new directions in life. My greatest joy is meeting these students as they progress through life after YC, in college, as young professionals, parents and sometimes as colleagues.

Year Course is something that sticks with you. It’s a year that really lasts a lifetime, with experiences, learning and friendships that remain part of who you are. It’s a launch pad to a life of independence, community, commitment and exploration. It may sound a bit cliche, but I am truly proud and honored  to play a small role in this very big adventure.

 I look forward to meeting you and having join our unique community, I know you will make it even better!

Get to Know: Kate Nachman, Director of Year Course

My Young Judaea pedigree goes back to age 13, when my older sister tricked me into attending a YJ club meeting in Nashua, NH. I was hooked from the start and became active in my club, my region, camp and eventually Israel. After loving my Year Course experience despite a war in the middle of it, I knew I had to get back. Junior year abroad at Hebrew University and then my year as a Year Course madricha solidified my conviction that #ycneverends and I have been on a path towards never leaving ever since.

After making Aliya to Israel, I ran the theatre program at Merkaz Hamagshimim for 9 years, worked at Hebrew College in Boston for 3 and a half years, and found my way back to Year Course in 2009 where I have been happily working my way up to director ever since. As Director of Year Course, I get to navigate the intersection between education and administration of the program and see our students through a 9-month journey of personal growth, grappling with identity, and Israel adventure. My favorite part of the job is that it is always changing. Local, national and international weather, politics, culture and more (of multiple countries), can divert us from our regularly scheduled program and make for exciting challenges of how we stay dynamic and able to react to the world around us without missing out on the things we’ve already planned. It is never boring!

I hope our students are learning how to balance our history with our future. I hope they are allowing the “boring stuff that happened a long time ago” to be relevant as a lens through which they understand who and how they want to contribute to the world around them.

Special Interest Month: Road Trip Edition!

Special interest month is an incredible time on Year Course, and arguably one of the best experiences of the whole year. After eight months of volunteering and courses, of ulpan Hebrew classes, trips around Israel and the world, workshops, seminars, after learning to save lives with Magen David Adom, practicing army skills on Marva, and making the desert bloom at Kibbutz Ketura, after having fun and gaining 100 new friends, there’s only one thing left to do: enjoy Israel!

For one entire month, Year Coursers get to simply experience everything this incredible country has to offer them, whether it’s meaningful volunteer work, surfing the waves off Tel Aviv, hiking and camping from the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterannean, or exploring the desert near the Dead Sea.

This year we had an amazing addition to Special Interest Month: Rabbi Adam’s Road Trip. Year Coursers are currently spending one whole week with Rabbi Adam Drucker, Director of Jewish Life on Year Course, who hand-picked his favorite spots all around the country and is introducing Year Coursers to some of Israel’s best-kept secrets. We’re only a couple days in and can’t wait to see what the rest of the week has in store.

Rabbi Adam made aliyah from the UK nearly four years ago with his family, and in that time has built a wonderful collection of places to visit in Israel. Each spot gives chanichim (participants) a chance to explore, appreciate and engage with a different aspect of Israel – agriculture, Zionist history, nature, preservation projects, industry, and of course food!

Rabbi Adam’s Road Trip highlights include:

  • Strawberry picking in Gedera
  • Stalactite caves in the Judaean lowlands
  • Chocolate and wine tasting at Tishbi Winery
  • Atlit, where Jewish refugees were held by the British before Israel was founded
  • Numerous parks and hikes

 

Learn more about Year Course in Israel