April 11, 2024
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April 11, 2024
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This month’s Israel Spotlight interviewee is Gavi Forman. Gavi grew up in Teaneck and attended Yeshivat Noam for elementary and middle school, and TABC for high school. He and his family daven at Congregation Zichron Mordechai, and he previously served as a group leader at Congregation Rinat Yisrael. Gavi is now studying in Yeshivat Reishit (The Genesis Center) in Beit Shemesh, and is planning on going back to America at the end of the year to study in University of Maryland… unless he decides to stay for Shana Bet.

Why did you choose Reishit?

I chose to study in Reishit because I’d heard amazing things about the ramim and the learning. The living conditions there (great food, comfortable dorms and nice facilities) are also a huge plus.

What kind of goals did you have for your year?

Coming into the year, my goals were to get answers to the religious questions that most teenagers have. I also wanted to use this full year in Israel to grow and discover myself, and to experience life in another country.

What has been the biggest highlight of your year so far?

The most exciting thing about being in Israel is definitely the ability to just get on a bus and go anywhere. My friends and I went to Tzfat with only five minutes of planning and a handful of shekalim. It’s just amazing to be here in Israel, and be able to visit all of the holy sites and beautiful parks whenever I’d like.

The most inspiring moment had to be going to the Litman-Beigel wedding at Binyanei Hauma. Seeing an entire country come together to send a message that we will not let terrorists terrorize us was simply bone chilling and unbelievable.

What kind of challenges have you faced in Israel?

The biggest difficulty of coming to Israel for the year was leaving behind my best friends and my job, both of which were a central part of my life.

How has being here been different from your expectations? Did you feel prepared for your experience or did you have culture shock, and how so?

The one thing about Israeli culture that has shocked me (in a good way) is the hospitality. Israelis are rude and impatient but somehow still manage to be incredibly hospitable. One story that comes to mind is when I was switching cell phone services here, I spent hours at the store arguing with the employee. Once everything was sorted out, he handed me a piece of paper with his phone number and invited me over for a Shabbat, saying, “We’ll eat fish together.” Everything else was pretty much as I expected it.

Where is your favorite place to go for weekends/Shabbat so far?

My favorite place that I’ve been to for Shabbat would have to be Ra’anana, mostly because of the people I stayed at. I also love going to Beit El where my cousins live. Spending Shabbat there shows what living in Israel is really about.

What are you most looking forward to from the rest of your year?

I look forward to exploring the rest of Israel. There’s so much left to see. In addition, I look forward to the spiritual growth and development as a person that a year in yeshiva brings out.

By Tzvi Silver/JLNJ Israel

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