150 students participate in Here Next Year celebration.
(photo credit: YUDA WIDAWSKY)
Over 150 students planning on staying in Israel after the completion of their gap year programs, participated in a celebratory barbeque hosted by Here Next Year in conjunction with Nefesh B'Nefesh on Friday. The Yeshiva and Seminary students are slated to stay in Israel and join the army, participate in the national service, or attend Israeli universities.
Here Next Year, a non-profit organization, runs events aimed at distributing information in English about opportunities in Israel and creating a sense of community amongst the students who are thinking of staying in Israel. This past March, over 100 yeshiva and seminary students attended a shabbat program run in Givat Shmuel, the largest hub of Modern Orthodox young olim, in order to experience the community and learn more about life in Israel.
The organization was started by sisters Penina Kaplansy and Bracha Lamm after they experienced difficulties navigating the Israeli system during their national service. Following their aliyah, the sisters decided to found the organization to help others going through a similar experience.
“Making the decision to do sherut leumi (national service), serve in the army or go to an Israeli university is difficult for any teenager,” said Kaplansky. “These young men and women, who could have chosen to return to their home countries next year, deserve as much assistance and support as possible.”
The congratulatory barbecue was the culmination of this year’s programming.
“It was really exciting to meet other people who are lucky enough to also be staying in Israel and it’s amazing to know that we have an organization committed to looking out for us and supporting us,” said one of the participants who will be joining the national service next year.
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