As Colleges Go Virtual, Students Instead Are Heading to Israel on Gap Year Programs

Under normal circumstances, hundreds of American Jews travel to Israel after they graduate from high school for what’s known as a gap year. Orthodox Jewish teens tend to study in seminaries and yeshivas before beginning college, while dozens of programs — including Year Course — primarily offer Israel experiences to non-Orthodox teens.

This year, the uncertainty about what college will look like in the fall, coupled with Israel’s relative success beating back coronavirus cases, appears to be driving up demand. Gap year programs say they are seeing a rise in last-minute applications as the possibility of not being able to be on campus next semester has students scrambling for other plans.