By Emily Kalgal
Choosing what to do after high school was the hardest choice I have ever made in my life. I was planning on going straight to university but for some reason, I was hesitant; I simply wasn’t ready, and was dreading my upcoming graduation. I knew there was something missing.
I started looking into many different gap year programs in Israel and found Torat Chessed (MTC), a seminary located in Netanya. Unlike most seminaries, MTC is a half-day learning program. In the morning we have a wonderful array of classes, and in the afternoon we have the privilege of working with the children of Beit El Elazraki, a children’s home. This program felt very meaningful because it would allow me to really make a difference in the lives of these children. From the moment I found this program, I knew that MTC was the place for me.
For me, going to Israel for the year is more than just a year abroad. From the age of four up until 12 I lived in Israel. I grew up in Efrat and attended elementary school, where I made very significant friendships and memories. When we moved back to Canada it was a very big adjustment for me: not only was I leaving the place I had called home for eight years, but I was also leaving my large Israeli family and my best friends. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit, and I dreamt about the day when I would finally return home. Therefore, joining MTC gave me the opportunity to reunite with my friends and family. I was recently able to see my best friend who I have kept in touch with for all these years.
Attending MTC was the best decision in my life. At MTC I have started to learn many important life lessons, and experience spiritual growth and personal development. The teachers at MTC are not only educators, they are also role models. The program is made up of 23 girls and we have already developed a special connection. Its crazy to think that only a week ago these girls were strangers, but now they are family. Every night we continue to grow our relationships by talking, laughing, and constantly learning from each other. I am so excited to continue to grow this year at MTC, and I am excited for the year ahead.