Made the life changing transformation from her small community with only 5 people her age, to the diverse, eye opening GHIS community. She took a brave step that transformed her life, and when asked she said, that “no doubt,” she would do it again.
Currently: Naama just finished a gap year with the Jewish Agency in Atlanta, Georgia. There, she worked with the Jewish community, working with a variety of Jewish people, young and old. Coming home to Israel and reflecting on her time in Atlanta, she describes the “meaningful, amazing experience” as one that could not have happened without the skills she earned at GHIS.
Breaking boundaries: Naama’s Moshav is right on the border with Egypt. You can see the lights of Egypt from the window of her house.
She comes from a small, tight-knit community, where there are only five people her age, and she felt that it was “too small” for her. Looking for a challenge, she went to GHIS “looking forward to meeting other cultures,” and “learning” about herself.
Coming to GHIS, to her, was breaking out of her shell, seeking a wider view of the world, and getting it in the most wholehearted and groundbreaking way.
In GHIS, Naama got to meet people who were different than her in every aspect: “culture, religion.” Before GHIS, Naama has not met anybody who was not Jewish.
By getting to know the GHIS community, Naama gained a new perspective on our world.
Gaining life changing skills: At GHIS, education is in English. At first, this was a challenge for Naama. At first, it hindered her way of communicating in class and with others. But, as the months passed by, Naama learned to communicate swiftly and confidently, in English just as she knows to do so in Hebrew. The deepened control of English is only one of the many skills that Naama gained during these two years at GHIS.
There are more than just technical skills that Naama has gained at GHIS.
In GHIS, Naama learnt to be option to other people, no matter how different they are. This sensitivity helped her when coming to Atlanta during her gap year with the Jewish Agency, and allowed her to be open and accepting towards others. It taught me how to adjust to different cultures and how to react… it could bring me forward and take me to different places with these communications and connections, which the other Israeli gap years did not have.”
Surrounded by people who care: “The administration, teachers, and boarding school staff, they really cared about us.” Naama remembers Isaac, a counsellor of hers, who was patient and kind, and offered his opinion on “matters of the heart.” With her family in Israel, but still a 4-hour drive from GHIS, her friends, teachers, and boarding team at GHIS became her “mom and dad.”
COVID-19 as a uniting factor: While COVID-19 isolated the whole world, and people were confined to their homes, Naama’s cohort only grew stronger together. As a result of the months that they spent together on the GHIS campus, Naama described her cohort as “such as strong, united group.” She says, “we got to know each other.” At her graduation, Naama remembers being overwhelmed by her journey, and the friends she made along the way.
Supporting each other through hard times: While forming a new family at GHIS, the GHIS students must cope with the challenge of missing their families back home. It is exactly this feeling that sounds them to each other, and brings these peers together. Naama remembers when a good friend of hers, Afomiya from Ethiopia, was missing home, and so they decided to make Ethiopian food together. Naama describes the experience as “fun and spicy.” She remembers that when she needed her friends, and they needed her, they were always there for each other.
Her next steps: Naama will enlist in the army in December, and will be a part of the “Speaker of the IDF.” Skills of communication and connecting with others that she earned at GHIs will help her moving forward with her journalism during her army service.
Graduation is just the beginning: On her first day, Naama says that she knew the people she saw were going to be her best friends for life. At her graduation, Naama was overwhelmed with how fast the two years had gone by. Now, she says, “I’m sure that the story with GHIS isn’t over yet.” In her room, she still keeps the objects that have memories of GHIS, such as the bag with the GHIS logo.
David joined GHIS because he was looking for the right educational establishment to develop personally and professionally. As soon as he heard about GHIS, he realized that it suits his values.
“As someone who has always been committed to coexistence in Israel, I see GHIS as a great vehicle to bring young people together in an accepting and non-prejudicial way.”
As well as being a teacher, David is also trained in special needs education at all school levels.
David holds a joint Honors B.Ed. in Special Education ages 6 to 21, and BA in Literature at Oranim College