Kol Ami was founded out of a deep understanding that the most effective way to build a sustainable connection between Jewish youth and the State of Israel is by creating personal relationships with the people of Israel.
We also believe that the best way to create meaningful personal relationships is by spending time together - Israelis, and Jewish peers from across the globe.
When looking at Jewish Gap years in Israel, we learned that although thousands of Jewish 18-19 year-olds spend 6-10 months in Israel, very few of these programs offer meaningful experiences with Israelis. Many international Jewish gap year programs are experts in Jewish education and Israel studies but are lack a critical piece, which is, creating deep and lasting relationships with Israelis. In a survey by 'Masa Israel', we learn that the majority of gap-year participants said that they did NOT create any deep relationships with Israelis during their extended time in Israel. Some even testified that aside from their Israeli educators and staff, they didn't meet any other Israelis.
Kol Ami was founded in order to address this issue and create a gap year program that will connect Israelis and Jewish peers from across the globe.
Before Kol Ami was founded in 2012, there was no gap year that offered a joint program for Israelis (before the IDF) and Jewish peers from across the globe (before college). In Kol Ami, the Israelis and international participants are together 100% of the time.
Kol Ami's unique educational experience combines the best of two worlds and offers a holistic experience for all participants:
Jewish identity - Jewish education that emphasizes the uniqueness of the different Jewish communities and ideologies across the globe as well as the common thread connecting all Jewish people. Our Jewish studies programs include classic Jewish studies and contemporary Jewish philosophy, Jewish text, and modern writings.
Love for Israel - High-level Israel education that includes both in-class studies and outdoor activities such as trips/hikes across the country with the goal to connect with the people, the history, the land, and the culture.
Most importantly, all the classes are based on discussions and peer-learning. With participants from 23 countries and hundreds of Jewish communities from abroad and Israel, the discussions are fascinating. Women, men from all the streams of Judaism - we make sure that all voices and opinions are heard. Together we create a beautiful community of the next generation of Jewish leaders. Definitely not uniformed, but certainly unified!