Jonny Povman is studying at Bar Ilan Israel Experience in Ramat Gan. He grew up in Scarsdale, attended Westchester Day School for middle school, and Ramaz for high school. His family davens at the Young Israel of Scarsdale. He attended Camp Seneca Lake for ten summers.
His next stop? Studying Business at University of Maryland.
Why did you choose to study at Bar Ilan Israel XP?
I chose to go here because my parents and I wanted me to have an experience in our home country, Israel. I also believe that this program is so important for students, like myself, who can’t handle a yeshiva experience of learning for most of the day; it gives us a chance to have an amazing, inspirational year in Israel, with plenty of learning, without an overwhelming schedule.
What kind of goals do you have for the year?
The goals I set for myself were to try to be able to speak Hebrew fluently by the end of my year, to make new friends from all over the United States, and to explore Israel as much as possible.
What have been some of the highlights of your year so far?
My most memorable highlight of my experience so far is the time we spent in Eilat. Our program scheduled an amazing and fun trip. Another great highlight was on New Year’s Eve, celebrating the new year with good friends.
One of my most inspiring moments was the men’s shabbaton. All of our rebbeim came on this trip, and we all had an amazing time celebrating Shabbat on Friday Night.
What kind of challenges have you faced coming to Israel?
The biggest difficulty this year has been leaving all of my friends behind and being away from home for the first time on my own. I have been able to overcome these difficulties, but at the beginning of the year these were definitely my concerns.
How has your year been different from your expectations?
My expectations were that it would be hard to adjust to an Israeli university, and that it would be hard to navigate my way around the country on my own. So far I have not had too much difficulty adjusting to the environment. I wasn’t as worried about the culture because I felt that my family and high school experiences prepared me for this. I was not disappointed.
Where is your favorite place to go for weekends/Shabbat so far?
I enjoy staying in the dorms with my friends and eating Shabbat meals by our rebbeim.
I also enjoy traveling for the weekends, visiting a close friend of mine in Raanana or going to Jerusalem.
Who is a teacher at Bar Ilan XP you connect to especially well?
A teacher whom I connect with very well is Rabbi Meyer. I find his teaching style very interesting, and I always feel like I’m learning something new. I also connect to the way he approaches Judaism. Throughout my 10 years learning in different Jewish schools, he is one of my favorite rebbeim.
Which is one of your favorite classes at Bar Ilan?
My favorite university class is marketing, because it’s a field I’m very interested in, and our teacher makes it very relevant to current events, reading news articles and discussing the issues with our class.
What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?
What I am most looking forward to is exploring more of Israel, making new friends, and seeing what the program has in store for the upcoming semester.