Evan B Ritz: ITF Rishon LeZion 2013-2014:
Being in Israel has been a tremendous experience for me thus far. I felt a special connection when I first came to Israel on Taglit in the summer and I knew I had to come back. Thankfully, I found ITF and the program accepted me. While I am not religious, I definitely feel safe and at home surrounded by such an accepting Jewish culture. Learning about culture and the young, yet rich history of Israel makes me appreciate being here even more. The trips that we go on with the program are a wonderful way to view different parts of Israel, and not just life in our respective cities and Tel Aviv. The minute I moved in to the city of Rishon LeZion, I felt at home despite the language barrier. Just about every person I have encountered while living here has been extremely generous. Some amazing friends and connections have been made so far throughout the program, and the remaining months look very promising. Working with Israeli students will definitely be one of the most memorable moments of my life. The kids are a joy to be around and I can see in their faces how much fun they have and their willingness to learn. There are definitely challenges in teaching, especially teaching English as a foreign language when I myself barely know any Hebrew. Persistence and patience is the key for me, and I know that if I slack off I would be wasting people’s time, both directly and indirectly. Two months have flown by and the students are already taking great strides in their work, which is very encouraging for me to bring my very best every day.