A lot of post High-School kids come to Israel with a lot of questions about Judaism, their Jewish identity, and how they fit it all together with who they are (or want to be). They also don’t want to go to Israel to be forced into a particular cookie cutter mold.
But the biggest question is do they finish their year in Israel with answers to any (or enough) of their questions.
One program in Israel hopes to specifically address that.
SIACH (translation: discourse) is a program designed for intelligent, inquisitive, and independent minds looking for answers, but not via the more traditional routes.
To begin with the program is both co-ed and pluralistic. They specifically want kids from different religious backgrounds (be it Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, or Unaffiliated) to participate.
A significant part of their methodology is interactive discussion and discourse (hence: Siach) as opposed to rote or intensive textual learning (though source texts do play an important role).
There is no doubt to me that this is the sort of place that XGH would like (or not, depending on his skepticism level on that particular day).
They don’t shy away from the tough questions as can be seen from their website:
“SIACH also features the study and discussion of Jewish perspectives on some of the most important and pressing issues of our time. Kosher sex, friendship, ethics of warfare, the status of women, “Who is a Jew?”, environmentalism, and issues in medical ethics such as abortion, euthanasia, artificial insemination, organ transplants and stem cell research will all be explored candidly and in-depth, and students will have the opportunity to reflect on how to relate these ideas to their personal lives.”
This program isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure. But there are definitely Muqata readers that (they or their kids) would find a unique program like this just what they have been looking for and couldn't find.
So check out SIACH for your Gap Year in Israel.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד