LEAP Year Program
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    Make the most out of your post-high school year!

    OFJCC Palo Alto JCC

    "What if we could offer…young American Jews an opportunity to strengthen their Jewish identity before they go to college? What if we could offer them a longer on-ramp to independence as well?"
                                ~Zack Bodner, OFJCC President and CEO

    Explore the world of post-high school Israel programs and discover yourself in the process.

    The LEAP Gap Year Program is an experienced partner for students and families that offers customized support, guidance and an optional pre-travel discovery cohort for those looking to get the most out of post-high school Israel programming.

    More than 200,000 international participants have taken part in gap year or mechina programs in Israel since 2004. We invite you to find out why this life choice has built up such enduring popularity.

    A seven- to ten-month gap year or mechina program can help you:
    • Take part in social action
    • Form meaningful bonds with Jews of different backgrounds, religious practices and beliefs
    • Advance your career with relevant volunteer, intern or work experience
    • Build confidence in the skills of living independently
    LEAP stands for Leadership, Education, Action and Peoplehood. At the OFJCC, we believe that participating in a post-high school Israel program can foster the values of leadership, independence, social action and a sense of belonging in the transition to adulthood.

    While still in high school, teens are invited to participate in one-off programs or to join a cohort of their peers in the seven-month PREP Fellowship to best prepare them for their LEAP year. At any point along the way, teens and their adults can meet with the LEAP manager to explore the best program option for them depending on what a student wishes to pursue.

    Masa Affiliated
    Founded in 2004 by The Jewish Agency, Keren HaYesod, The Jewish Federation of North America and the Israeli government, Masa ("journey" in Hebrew) is the most widely recognized and trusted organization in the long-term Israel experience space.

    The Oshman Family JCC works closely with a handful of Masa-endorsed and vetted programs which offer college-bound high school graduates the opportunity to experience living independently, see things through an international lens and encounter Israel first-hand. Options include:
    • Accredited academic courses and tracks
    • Career development and internships
    • Service and volunteering
    • Jewish studies or learning
    • Youth movement affiliated

    Masa awards scholarships, regardless of need, to all participants.

    The OFJCC LEAP Year Program also offers $250 per Bay Area participant who works with the program before selecting their gap year. Limited additional scholarships of up to $10,000 are available for qualifying applicants.

    To explore your options, please click here to complete the interest form.

    To set up a call with LEAP Program Manager Lara Walklet, please contact her at [email protected].

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