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Kivun 5783. What a year!

By Joshua Hutman; Montreal, Canada

It is crazy to think that 10 months ago, I was boarding flight AC-82 to Israel on my gap year. I did not know what to expect. Sure I had some insight on what my year was going to be like, but this was my very first time leaving home for an extended period of time. I didn’t even think I’d manage as well as well as I had. Now, 10 months later I am proud to say that I was able to not only manage and persevere through this year, but flourish.

There have been many ups and downs, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying my year which contained aspects that I feel I would never be able to get elsewhere in the world: working on a kibbutz, internships with Israel’s best companies, a two week hike all around Israel, and so much more! Most importantly, this year allowed me to continue to grow as a Jew on a spiritual level. Israel has made me feel closer to my religion than ever before that it makes me want to make an Aliyah someday. This year, I’ve also matured. I’ve become more independent than I had been in the past since I wasn’t living at home and didn’t have my family there for me. I had to learn to take public transportation in a country that wasn’t my own. Communicating with others was of course a challenge since some of the people I’ve encountered spoke only Hebrew.

I would like to give a huge thank you to my parents and family who I am so incredibly grateful for giving me such an incredible opportunity to come and experience Israel for the year. Next, thank you to my friends back home for being so supportive of my decision. Third, I’d like to thank my program director, Rav Eli and madrichim, Binyamin, Adam, Shira, Ori and Aviyah for helping enhance my experience and looking out for us on a day to day basis. Most importantly and what made my experience that much meaningful was the people I got to experience this year with. I was a part of a gap year program with participants from pretty much all around the world, the US, UK, Sweden and Germany. I am so thankful to have met such welcoming and diverse people who I now proudly call my second family. This is an experience that I will never forget. I am so happy I got to experience Israel for the year. Now, let’s see what the next chapter in my life brings.

Check out for more pics/vids/highlights of the whole year!


Kivun is a Co-ed, experiential, 9-month Israel immersion program for the Northern Hemisphere, focusing on personal development, independent living and Jewish growth. Participants live in apartments in Jerusalem, where together with friends they learn about themselves, Judaism and Zionism through an incredible array of experiences such as Kibbutz, Volunteering, Seminars, Professional Internship, Magen David Adom, and IDF experience. For more information or to apply click here.


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