"Aardvark Israel is truly an amazing organization that I am so proud and honoured to be associated with. Your lovely words regarding Jonathan staying on for next semester just confirmed again how thrilled we are that he is there!! Jonathan has grown so much since being in the program. He came to the program, not sure about himself, his schooling and his social well being and we believe he now has gained a world of confidence that we hope will carry him through all of his years ahead. There are no words that we can think of other than to simply say thank you."
- Alan and Rochelle Slobodsky, Parents of Aardvark Israel Participant
“Having known Aardvark Israel Director, Keith Berman, for over 25 years, I can confidently say he is one of the most creative and inspiring educators I have ever met. Any educational project Keith leads is guaranteed to be productive and meaningful for the student. He is a true leader in the field of education. I would encourage any high school graduate looking for a “gap year” experience to participate in the Aardvark Program.”
- Danny Tuchman
High School Principal, North Broward Preparatory School
“In our world today, young people need a form of Jewish education well beyond sitting in a Sunday school classroom. They need to be challenged, learn leadership skills and be inspired. This is why I am thrilled to recommend Aardvark Israel programs! The Aardvark program is totally in tune with today's young Jewish adults and offers its participants the chance to grow and explore their Judaism and connection to Israel in a framework that speaks to them. Knowing the key staff of the program, I am positive Aardvark will deeply enrich the lives of its students and prepare them to go on to college armed with skills and motivation to become leaders on campus and the Jewish community. I am proud to support the Aardvark Israel programs and encourage you to sign up!”
- Susan Turnbull, Former Vice Chair, Democratic National Committee, and Jewish Community Leader
Parents of Alumni and Participants
"I have been very happy with the program and enthusiastically endorse it. I am so pleased with the quality and kinds of activities you offer on weekends, the group experiences, and the supervision. There's enough space for the participants to feel independent and enough supervision for parents to feel their children are safe."
-Jesse Lyn Stoner, Mother of Ari Stoner, Indianapolis, IN
"Thank you to you and all of your excellent staff for helping Jacob in a variety of ways to have a meaningful and memorable year in Israel this year. Wishing you all the best of luck with Aardvark - may you continue to go from strength to strength!"
- Jane Schneiderman, Mother of Jacob Walker, Toronto, Canada
"Yesterday I told a friend about your program and how happy Maya was to be part of it. I highly recommended it and I will most certainly be happy to refer other people to you. I couldn't be happier with the program and the staff and I'm sure you'll grow fast as a result of your exceptional staff members and the program itself."
- Kobi Fried, Father of Maya Fried, Thousand Oaks, California
"Thanks so much for your updates. It's comforting for me to know what kinds of activities Andy is participating in. We signed up with Aardvark based more or less on instinct/hunch. So far the program has exceeded our expectations."
- Bari Bogart, Mother of Andrew Bogart, Beverly Hills, California
"I just want to let you know that Michael is home safe and very happy. We are grateful to you for the program you have established. It suited Michael very well and we have already mentioned it to several people here who have expressed interest."
- Robyn and Victor Chereshsky, Parents of Michael Chereshsky, Melbourne, Australia
"Todah rabah for a wonderful year. Rebekah is torn about coming back to the US. I told her she can always go back to Israel. I can't believe they are on their way home. It went by so quickly. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity you gave her."
- Deborah Worpell, Mother of Rebecca Worpell, Fort Wayne, Indiana
"This has continued to be a great year for our daughter, Gaby. She is now going through a difficult period trying to decide just what steps to take next, the IDC or the IDF. I remember it was not so easy being 21. I had a conversation with some woman from the Jewish Agency in charge of gap year programs concerning options for Gaby's sister for next year. The first thing that came out of her mouth was Aardvark. So yasher koach to you on this amazing program you have created. While many people said to me you are going to chance sending your daughter on a first year program, we didn't hesitate because it sounded like it would be good for her. After meeting you and the caring staff I am a big fan."
- Julie Shuer, Mother of Gaby Davis, Beverly Hills, California
"I cannot express the gratitude I have toward the Aardvark staff and counselors for giving my son “the ultimate” year in Israel experience. I have sent two of my older children in recent years to Israel on two separate year long programs. By the time those years came to an end, I always felt like their programs could have shown or taught them more about Israel. As I watched this video it assisted me in reflecting back on the year my son had in Israel thanks to Aardvark. Each week their schedule had either something fun, exciting or educational. On the “down days” I knew my son was living life in Israel, working, volunteering, shopping, taking buses etc, all the while making new friends and acquaintances, both inside the program and out. This was the immersion experience I had hoped my other children would have had, but sadly did not. Thus my feeling of appreciation to the Aardvark staff. My only regret is that this Aardvark Israel Program experience for my son like all ‘good things’, has to come to an end."
- Steven Fisher, father of Oscar Fisher, Monsey, New York
"I couldn’t have asked for better people to share this once in a lifetime experience with. Thank you for making me smile, thank you for creating unforgettable memories with me, and most importantly, thank you for making this year everything I have hoped for and more."
- Sydney Orenstein, West Hills, California
"I grew up in a town with barely any Jews. Being able to spend the year in Israel was an amazing experience that made me understand my background so much better. And yeah, I had a great time as well."
- Alex Moliver, Newtown, Connecticut
"I just wanted to say thank you again. I literally had the best year of my life. I hope you are successful in the years to come."
- Eliot Silverman, West Newton, Massachusetts
"Thank you so much for such a wonderful semester. I have learned so much and I have grown so much, and I will never forget this experience. I have had a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you helped make that possible. So thank you. I will keep in touch, and whenever I am back in Israel, I'll make sure to contact everyone."
- Tali Friedland, Southbend, Indiana
"We've been everywhere. We've partied with the chassids during Simchat Torah in Tsfat. We went to understand what settlers went through in Hevron. We saw what it was like to live in a development town. We've been to a Palestinian village and heard their plight and wherever we are politically, it's still a story. It's still real. We've heard all their stories. And from their stories we've added to our own."
- Ethan Rosenfeld, Cleveland, Ohio
What They're Saying About Aardvark Director, Keith Berman...
"I’m so excited to hear that Keith Berman will continue inspiring our children to love the State of Israel. I have known him for more than thirty years, first as a member of Young Judaea and later as we both attended the Year Course program in Israel in 1984. He has worked arduously with our young Jewish men and women who attended the Year Course program. My son and daughter were among the many attendees who have now become more committed Jews and ardent supporters of the State of Israel, for this I will always be grateful. I’m sure that with his experience and knowledge all his future endeavors related with our Jewish youth will be a total success."
- Joel Bender
"I have known Keith Berman for many years and have always been impressed by his passion and zeal when it comes to Israel, Zionism and Judaism. Keith is an expert in experiential education and truly knows how to bring home a point. I have full confidence in his ability to provide a quality program for students wishing to immerse themselves in Israeli culture and society. With this combination of leadership, passion, experience and educational background, as founder of Aardvark Israel, I believe Keith has discovered the equation for an awesome, affordable and achievable Israel gap year program."
- Mindy Lessem Pollack, Education Director, Temple Beth Shalom
Vero Beach, FL
"Keith did an amazing job [as the Director of Young Judaea’s Year Course in Israel] and inspired and changed my outlook on life and Zionism. Thank you for all your hard work and the amazing job you did. I hope that you continue your positive impact on youth."
- Assaf Ben-Atar
New Haven, CT
"Keith Berman is an idealist, an expert Jewish informal educator and somebody who can run a professional, exciting, and stimulating year program with one hand tied behind his back."
- Danny Reed, Former Regional Director of Young Judaea
Former Assistant Director of Education, Year Course in Israel
"Keith, you have my admiration for all the outstanding work you have done over these years....making an indelible impression on each of the staff and students you have touched."
- Lisa Synalovski, Former Regional Director of Young Judaea