When I first planned my gap year last spring, I thought that, having gone to SAR High School, a Modern Orthodox Yeshiva, I wanted to step out of the Yeshiva world and experience new things. So I picked Hartman, a pluralistic, co-ed, Israeli and American program, believing that going there for the year would be a great way to open up to new ideas and perspectives. While this idea sounded great in theory, I would soon realize that this was not the only thing I wanted my gap year to look like, in that my Jewish learning and spirituality were just as important and interesting for me to develop, not just studying political theory, literature or politics, subjects I could study with great excitement and depth at Duke. I missed many intellectual and spiritual things about yeshiva life, from the big things like the challenges and rigor of Gemara learning, analytic and rigorous text study and spiritual prayer, but also all the small things like “tishes” (small gatherings where singing of hymns and spirituals would take place), or even just the Yeshivish vibes which are so comforting, yet so hard, to try and explain.
On flexibility and planning a gap year