Reflections on my time at Hebrew University
By Ariel Zohar, Toronto
In the spring of 2012 I had just completed the first half of my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and Health Sciences. After the first two years of this program, I began to feel fatigued from the same routine of long days (and nights) in the library and maintaining a part-time job alongside my studies. My brother Eitan also felt the same fatigue as he too reached a similar boiling point. Both in our early twenties, we felt the same need to widen the focus and experience a different kind of challenge.
After some expert planning and with the help of the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, we found ourselves sharing an apartment in Jerusalem later that year.
While Eitan studied at Betzalel University and I studied at the Rothberg International School, we both found what we were looking for. The student body was surprisingly diverse and I was exposed to a side of Jerusalem I had never seen before. I studied Hebrew and Arabic – courses I knew were a long way from exercise physiology but gave me much more than just a few semester credits. I was finally able to communicate with family in Israel and forge strong relationships for the years to come. I also studied Jewish philosophy, national history, and peace-building. These courses drew me closer to a deeper and richer understanding of Israel than I’d ever known before.
Among the many things I’ve gained from my time at Hebrew University, I left the program with a strengthened sense of identity and a new way of approaching problems. Eitan and I returned to Toronto with a new sense wonder and inspiration. Building off of this momentum, I completed my Bachelor’s degree with Specialized Honours designation and have since encouraged many students to participate in the same program.
Ariel is a Registered Kinesiologist and is currently a Clinic Director at a multidisciplinary therapy clinic in Toronto.