100 Alumni We Love - David Nadler

Reflections on my time at HU

By David Nadler, Toronto

I attended the mechina program at Hebrew U in 1984-85 after high school as a gap year before university. My sister had done the same 10 years earlier. I had been to Israel in 1982 after grade 9 as part of a B’nai Akiva summer program. It was a tremendous experience. That summer, the 1982 war in Lebanon was in progress and the staff that was supposed to run our program were called up to the army so we ended up with an eclectic staff consisting of former Montrealers living in Israel and a woman from a moderately religious kibbutz. That experience solidified my desire to spend a year studying in Israel after high school.

The year I spent at Hebrew year was transformative in many ways. Living independently in the Resnick dorms on Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem, engaging on a daily basis with Israelis and Jews from all over the world at Hebrew U and travelling the entire country, cemented my already strong ties to Israel. I become fluent in conversational Hebrew, matured tremendously, and was able to learn from so many tremendous faculty, including studying Tanach with the great Nechama Leibowitz.

My wife Tara (who also spent a gap year in Israel) and I, have four children. Israel plays a very central role in our family. Our two children who have graduated high school both spent gap years studying in Israel and we celebrate our youngest daughter’s bat mitzvah in Israel. Much of this is due in a large part to the invaluable impact those gap years had upon our lives.

  • David is currently a Partner at Goodmans LLP, Banking and Finance and Hospitality in Toronto.