Bender takes year off college to travel to Israel

by Frida Valdés, Feature Editor

Adam Bender, senior, will take a year off college to travel to Israel, where he will  participate in a youth leadership program and take classes to learn Hebrew.

He will spend eight and a half months in Israel and will not come visit family and friends in the U.S.  for holidays.

Additionally, he will meet 12 of his friends in Israel so he will not be “completely isolated,” and he plans on visiting parts Europe during his winter break, including England, France and Italy.

“I think it’s (not coming back for holidays) gonna be tough for him, he will definitely miss it here,” Larry Bender, freshman and brother of A. Bender said.

The year A. Bender will spend in Israel will be about the equivalent of a year of college in the U.S. since the classes will all be taught in English, and he will receive credit towards college.

During his first semester, A. Bender will attend a youth hostel, that he learned about from United Senega Youth. located in Jerusalem, where he will study Hebrew.

For the second semester, A. Bender will travel to a youth village in Haifa, where he will participate in a college leadership program in order to do community work.

Even though the cost is similar to a year of college in the U.S., A. Bender’s parents support him.

“My parents support me 100 percent; they feel that the benefits well exceed the cost,” A. Bender said.

Approximately 150 students from all over the U.S. and Canada will participate in this program, of whom 50 will take part in the community program at Haifa, Israel.

According to Lee Kresner, senior, he wanted A. Bender to get the “freshman experience” before travelling to Israel.

“I told him that I slightly disagree, I suggested one year after, but he’s excited so I understand why he wants to go,” Kresner said.

According to A. Bender, having the opportunity of being in Israel and becoming accustomed to the society will force him to learn Hebrew and will also become a time for “personal maturing.”

However, many people in Israel know English, and street signs are in Arabic, Hebrew and English.

“(Our parents think) he controls his life; now that he’s 18, it’s his choice.   (When A. Bender comes back) he will try to get more and more people to go to Israel and influence them because he feels that it’s a great experience, and he’ll want other people to experience what he experienced,” L. Bender said.

A. Bender plans on majoring in business and accounting, and although learning Hebrew will not directly help him in the field he wants to go into, he feels he will never again have an opportunity like this one.

“I hope that he becomes even closer to his faith and Judaism, and learns about Israel. Hopefully one day he’ll take us (friends); I’d love to go to Israel,” Max Wagner, senior, said.

A. Bender visited Israel last summer.

“I fell in love with the country, it feels like another home. It’s becoming more Americanized, which upsets me,” A. Bender said.

A. Bender’s friends expect him to learn from this new experience.

“I do expect him to come back more religious, more aware of the culture; feel more at one with Israel and his religion. He’ll be happy in the end, I think he’ll come back a new man,” Kresner said.