(Courtesy of JCT) For the average religious student from New Jersey who spends a gap year in Israel, but also might consider making aliyah at some point, Rabbi Shlomo Anapolle poses the following question: Why return to America, only to go back to Israel?
“Today, young adults are realizing even earlier than they did 10 years ago that Israel is where the Jewish future is,” said Anapolle, director of the International Program in English at the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT).
On August 23, Anapolle visited Teaneck for the International Program’s open-house event at a private home. About 25 attendees, including prospective students and community leaders who came from as far as East Brunswick, heard about the benefits of a unique JCT program that offers young men and women the viable opportunity to live and study Torah in Israel while pursuing a prestigious academic degree in English. Joel Strauss, co-president of Friends of JCT’s executive committee, also attended the event, along with the college’s U.S. recruiters Judy Lebovits and Rabbi Zachary Rothblatt.
Identical to JCT’s Hebrew-speaking programs, the International Program offers a comprehensive dual curriculum that combines high-level academic studies, enriching Jewish studies and practical professional training. Following three critically formative and intensive years of study, students emerge prepared not only to embark on successful career paths but also thriving life paths that maintain an abiding fidelity to Torah and Israel. JCT’s highly respected nationwide reputation helps open doors for new graduates. A dedicated college staff makes personal efforts to introduce students to potential employers through a wide network of alumni and professional connections, which often lead to key entry opportunities in students’ fields.
For both men and women, the International Program offers a B.Sc. in computer science and B.A. in business administration with a concentration in data analytics.
According to Anapolle, the purpose of the Teaneck event was to raise awareness about another option for religious students—especially given that approximately 15% of today’s gap year students are looking to remain in Israel, whether it be through the army, national service or college.
“For such students, we are the only English-language option that’s fully religious as a program and an institution,” Anapolle said. “These students want to continue their religious studies, simultaneously with high-level academics, and specifically to continue this track in Israel. This is the new normal today. JCT is the new normal for religious students who are living and staying in Israel.”
He noted that considering the astronomical cost of college tuition in the U.S., the International Program’s annual tuition of about $4,000 offers a much more viable option for parents and students alike.
Anapolle also explained that aliyah is no longer a threat to economic or professional success. With a rising number of English-language degree programs, as well as the strength of Israel’s job market in the science and technology fields, “the options are there, but it’s just about raising the awareness so that students know about them. There has always been a spiritual reason, but this is the practical reason for students coming to Israel and then staying in Israel, especially when they can get high-level education for a fraction of the cost.” The rise in antisemitism in the U.S. and around the world has been widely cited as another factor behind increased aliyah in recent years.
The Teaneck event, Anapolle said, “attracted a great mix of individuals who had great questions, and they learned about what sets us apart from other institutions.” He added that such open-house events help create “ambassadors” for the International Program.
For additional information about JCT’s International Program in English, visit https://www.jct.ac.il/international
For other questions, contact Rabbi Shlomo Anapolle directly at [email protected] or +972 55-304-4242, Judy Lebovits at 516-603-7706, or Rabbi Zachary Rothblatt at 973-900-0230.