July 22, 2024
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July 22, 2024
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Yosi Gold Reflects on His Year in Israel

The yeshiva at Maarat Hamachpela.

I sat down virtually with Yosi Gold of Teaneck, a shana alef student who just finished his year at Yeshivat Hesder Lev HaTorah in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel, my former yeshiva. We discussed why he decided to go, what he gained out of yeshiva, especially in this unique year, and what his message is for those on the fence about spending time in Israel after high school.

My first question is, why did you decide to study in Israel and at Lev HaTorah in specific?

I believe that not only why I wanted to learn in Israel, I believe that all my years of what TABC in high school taught me and all my years of lower school really inspired me to want to go to Israel just to learn the ways of the land, to really be in the land that we ourselves learned about in school. And I believe that’s a huge thing for me. And Lev HaTorah, other than the fact that I’ve heard great things about it, it’s just like when the interview came, they were such nice people. They really felt like family even though I just talked to them for the first time. And after that interview, it clicked. I’m like, that’s where I really wanted to go, and I don’t regret it a single bit.

What was your favorite moment of this year?

There are so many to pick from. I would say on Pesach, on Pesach in Israel. It’s just such a beautiful [thing], it’s something I never thought I’d ever see, just the unity of people. And if you needed a Seder to go to, just random people, for example, in Beit Shemesh, would openly invite you to their houses for a Seder if you needed one. It’s just crazy to see how unified all of klal Yisrael is.

Yosi Gold, left

Tell us a challenge from the year.

I’d say one definite challenge was the war. You know, no one came into this year expecting there to be a war. But at the same time, I thought this was really an experience that … [is] definitely a story I’m going to tell my kids when I get older. … And I really got to experience the true unity of klal Yisrael through times of need. And it was really amazing to see.

That was actually my next question. How did it affect your experience, the war, and do you think it harmed your time or made it more meaningful?

I think it made it more meaningful. This is really an experience where, just from learning how to make tzitzit for soldiers or just restocking food aisles in supermarkets because all their workers got asked to go to the army … we learned so much more about Judaism, the fact that there was a war, because it really got us involved with not just Gemara-based learning, but with just other things and ve’ahavta lereyacha kamocha.

What do you think you gained out of going to yeshiva?

I think that I gained immense amounts of connections with rabbis who I probably will speak to for the rest of my life. You know, I feel like that’s such an important aspect of my yeshiva year and also just, for example, I started wearing techelet tzitzit [that] I learned how to tie myself. And since then I’ve been wearing it every day. And I think it’s just a beautiful thing. I’m so glad I learned it.

Yosi Gold, center, standing

Finally, what do you want to tell those who are unsure if they want to study in Israel, who may want to go straight to college?

I think that even though you feel like you wouldn’t want to go, that’s completely normal for everyone. At the beginning, I didn’t necessarily feel like I wanted to go either, but I really gave it a shot and I don’t regret going. I thought I had the best time, and it’s a much different feeling when you’re actually there versus saying it before. I think that kids should really take advantage of that.

Daniel Brauner is a summer intern at The Jewish Link. He is an incoming student at Yeshiva University and lives in Teaneck.

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