Stacey29, from Houston, Texas
I had no idea what it would be like to live in Israel. I had fallen in love with simply being there when I toured the country in 1993 in high school and again in 1996 in college. I had always wanted to go back for an extended period and finally in 2005 I had my opportunity.
I attended classes in both Neve and Shearim. I enjoyed each school immensely and found the instructors available in Israel to be incomparable and amazing. Most of what I learned, however, came from simply absorbing the spirituality and holiness from those around me. The spiritual level of my teachers, neighbors, and random people on the bus inspired me to want to be more like them, if it was even possible. I found myself traveling to see historic and spiritual sites in Israel, taking extra classes in my neighborhood and beyond on a variety of topics.
I grew immeasurably in my year in Israel. I attended many weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, kiddushes, and other simchas. I experienced the cycle of the Jewish calendar year with all of its beautiful holidays in the one place in the world where nearly everyone is participating in the festivals. It is a feeling I cannot adequately describe to see Sukkahs along every step of your neighborhood and menorahs lit in every window.