Dayne Katz is studying at the Israel Experience at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan. He grew up in Stamford, attended Bi-Cultural Day School for elementary school and Ramaz for high school. His family davens at Congregation Agudath Sholom.
Why did you choose to study at Bar Ilan?
I chose to go to Bar Ilan University Israel XP because, aside from getting college credits and taking business-oriented classes, such as Marketing, Management and Finance, I also get to spend half of my day learning Judaic studies, which I take very seriously. I have also enrolled in the beit midrash program, which allows students to have a chavruta everyday in the beit midrash on campus.
What kind of goals do you have for the year?
I went into this year hoping to meet people from all around, and to become a better person and Jew.
What have been some of the highlights of your year so far?
The highlights of my year so far have been our three day trip to the south. It was earlier in the year, when we were all less acquainted and I made some of my closest friends on this trip.
The most inspiring moment of my year is when I went with a few friends to the Maayanot yeshiva in Jerusalem for yud tet Kislev, we stayed up the whole night singing and dancing. At two o’clock in the morning, we walked to the Kotel and I bumped into my rabbi from my shul back home. My most exciting moment was completing my Magen David Adom course, and becoming a certified medic.
What kind of challenges have you faced coming to Israel?
The biggest difficulty for me has been being away from my family and friends back home, and having to adapt to a totally new culture and lifestyle.
How has your year been different than your expectations?
I did feel prepared for this experience, but I’m not sure how ready I was to live completely on my own. Having to clean my own room, getting my own meals and finding places to go for Shabbat during off-weekends — it has been an adjustment.
Where is your favorite place to go for weekends / Shabbat so far?
My favorite place to go for Shabbat is Jerusalem. I was born in Jerusalem and always feel very comfortable there. On Shabbat, it is especially nice because everyone is together, and the whole city shuts down and celebrates Shabbat together.
Who is a teacher at Bar Ilan who you connect to especially well?
I connect most with Rabbi Sasson. He is not a teacher at the university, but he lives on our campus. Once a week, he holds a malawach and tea night at his house, where we explore different topics in Judaism. I have also been to his house a couple times throughout the year for Shabbat meals and they are always inspiring. I have definitely learned the most from him on how to better myself as a person and as Jew.
Which is one of your favorite classes at Bar Ilan?
My favorite class is Marketing with Professor Gottlieb. He is an entertaining teacher who is very interactive with the students, gets us involved and I have learned a lot from him.
What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?
I am most looking forward to finishing my year on a high note, and making memories on this program that I know I will never forget.
This article was originally published by The Jewish Link