Ayal Ritvo is studying at the Bar Ilan Israel Experience in Ramat Gan. He grew up in Scarsdale, attended Westchester Day School for elementary school and Frisch for high school. His family davens at Young Israel of Scarsdale. In the summers, he has attended Camp Seneca, then Lavi and then Nesher.
His next stop? Binghamton University.
Why did you choose to study at Bar Ilan Israel XP?
I chose to go here because I wanted to get “the year in Israel” experience, while also taking college classes. I chose it over a yeshiva because it gave me the opportunity to choose my schedule, so that I don’t end classes late at night and because of the amazing trips Bar Ilan XP has.
What kind of goals do you have for the year?
I wanted to learn more about Israel and travel throughout it. I also wanted to earn credits for college.
What have been some of the highlights of your year so far?
I really enjoy the life in the dorms; every night I get to hang out with friends.I enjoyed the men’s shabbaton in Pitron. That Friday night we had a tisch, which was very inspiring. All of us sat in a circle singing Jewish songs and connecting with each other.The most exciting moment was on our trip to Ein Gedi. We spent hours climbing up in the heat, but once we reached the top, it was all worth it. We saw an amazing view of the Dead Sea.
What kind of challenges have you faced coming to Israel?
It’s difficult not being around my family and pet dog.
How has your year been different than your expectations?
I was nervous leaving home to live in a different country for a year, but once I got here, it all changed. I’ve made a lot of friends and the Av Bayit, Yonatan Seiv, made it easy to adapt to the new environment. He is super nice and helps me with everything I need.
Where is your favorite place to go for weekends / Shabbat so far?
It’s really fun to stay in the dorms and hang out with friends.
Who is a teacher at Bar Ilan XP who you connect to especially well?
I connect with Rabbi Klapper, because he is a great teacher along with being a rabbi of ours. His class is inspiring, and he comes to the dorms and we have great conversations with him about life and Judaism.
Which is one of your favorite classes at Bar Ilan XP?
The topics in the Rambam are my favorite. We are learning about how Hashem gave the written and oral Torah at Har Sinai.
What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?
I’m most looking forward to learning to be more independent and becoming more connected with Hashem