Hi, my name is Dylan, and this is a summary of my 2020-2021 Arevim Masa Year of Service.
2020 was a strange and unexpected year, and with the development of COVID-19, the world got
put on a sort of pause. This was also the year I graduated high school, and my peers and I were
getting ready for university, but the virus made me have second thoughts about going to school.
Even though this was looking like it was going to be a dark year, I decided I still wanted to make
the most of it, so when my dad presented the idea of traveling across the world to Israel, this
Middle Eastern country I barely knew anything about, I jumped at the opportunity.
I still clearly remember that first time on Zoom where I met everyone on the program, all these
digital boxes with the guys and girls who would eventually become my family for the year. After
about two weeks of paperwork and mental preparation, it was finally time to leave Toronto,
Canada, and fly thirteen hours to Tel Aviv, Israel, where we would learn and grow for a year.
After we landed and left the airport, I was already greeted by the friendly faces of the Masa staff,
who drove me to my apartment, where I needed to quarantine for two weeks with my new
roommates. In these two weeks, we learned to live as roommates gaining cleaning, cooking,
and general life skills. Over time, these boys stopped being my roommates and started
becoming my brothers.
After completing this two-week quarantine, we were finally free to explore the beautiful land of
Israel. Instantly, I felt immersed in the culture with all the locals being so friendly and hospitable
towards me. The program didn’t tell us how to get around Tel Aviv exactly, but I enjoyed this
because it let my roommates and I explore the city for ourselves, where we discovered our
legendary hangout spots like the beautiful Frishman or even found some of Tel Aviv’s many
One of the central parts of my program was the opportunity to volunteer for the year. People in
my program did things such as teach English at a primary school, be a nurse’s assistant at the
the local hospital, or the service I completed this year, which was working in a care home for people
with special needs. This branch of the program was a genuine personal highlight for me. The
residents I spent my days with taught me so much, and I was there to guide and assist them
where I could.
Lastly, I would like to explain the excursions the programs took us on because I made some of
my best memories then, and this is where the group and I started to make new bonds. The Masa
program took us everywhere across Israel, from north to south. We saw it all. We visited the Hermon
Mountains, and then traveled the Dead Sea, which allowed us to see the many landforms of
Israel. The program also took us to the many landmarks and historical sites in Israel, such as
Jerusalem’s Western Wall, which was a powerful sight to see, having never visited it before. I saw
so many mesmerizing sites and learned so much about the country from these trips.
In conclusion, doing this gap year program was the best decision I ever made. I created bonds
to last a lifetime and made memories that I will recall for years to come. So if you are a future
possible Masa participant reading this and deciding how you would like to spend your year, let
me strongly recommend this life-changing program.
Dylan Snider, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario