I still remember getting ready for my gap year in Israel after high school, even though it was so many years ago. In those days we didn’t call it a Gap Year. There was no name. It was just called the Year in Israel. I remember the planning, the buying, the packing which all culminated in the gathering at the airport where we said good bye to our families, some of us mournfully, some of us less so.
Things were different in those days; most kids went straight to college. Those who went to Israel knew that in all likelihood they wouldn’t be seeing their families for the better part of a year, would rarely speak by phone (remember asimonim?) and would mostly communicate via those blue fold-up airmail letters.
These days an overwhelming number of high school graduates spend an important and meaningful year here in Israel. These sophisticated kids likely have spent time in Israel before, and are in daily contact with their parents back home. Their parents are aware of their every move and know when their kids are struggling and when things are good.
This Shabbat we had the pleasure of hosting three Gap Year kids at our home. All three were from families that we remained close with even after our Aliya; we’ve known these kids since they were born and have watched them grow up. Shabbat was filled with laughter and conversation, but these young people also spoke of difficulty getting used to new surroundings, of long days spent in the Beit Midrash, of adapting to new roommates and friends, of figuring out how to do things on their own and of being homesick.
And then I recalled those same feelings when I first arrived here in Israel for my Gap Year way back when in another lifetime, another century.
It’s perfectly normal for a young person to be thrilled about his independence, about spending a year living and learning in Israel, and at the same time to miss home and the security of mom and dad being right there.
I felt for these kids. I wanted to embrace them and tell them that they are embarking on one of the most unforgettable experiences of their lives and that with each passing day they will feel more comfortable. And I did tell them, but they won’t really believe it until they experience it.
So instead, I thought about what could be done to make gap year students feel better. At Tamarim Concierge, we already provided invaluable help to so many kids by having all their bedding ready and waiting when they arrived at their dorm rooms, thereby freeing up valuable luggage space for other necessary Gap Year items.
A custom made Tamarim care package could go a long way in showing these kids that they are constantly thought of back home. Tamarim combines the best that Israel has to offer—chocolates, nuts, dried fruit, teas and other edible delights as well as include some well-loved goodies from back home. The possibilities are endless and Tamarim Concierge will custom design beautiful care packages according to a client’s specific needs, requests and budget.
But Tamarim is not only about bedding, care packages and gift baskets. Tamarim Concierge assists a gap year student with just about anything. For example, recently a parent contacted us to see if we would take their son shopping for some clothes as his luggage had been temporarily misplaced by the airline. We gave her our favorite answer: Of Course! We Do That.
I’m looking forward to these kids coming back to for another Shabbat soon; by then I’m sure they’ll be seasoned gap year students who will know their way around. Until that time, and throughout their year in Israel, Tamarim Concierge is here for you.