November 23, 2021
After attempting college in the U.S. and seeing it wasn’t the right fit for him, Avi Weinreb is finally where he belongs — Israel. Below, the freshman studying business administration discusses what drew him to studying in Israel and how he manages to live a life where he’s both immersed in Torah and technology at the same time.
What is it about Israel that you love so much?
“I love being in a completely Jewish country. I feel comfortable. No matter your level of observance, we’re all Jewish and in this together. As such, I find being here more relaxing than America. America feels so chaotic – especially now. It has its luxuries, but you pay the price for that.
“From a security perspective, I also feel very safe. I don’t feel threatened walking around the Old City and thank God we have a great army that makes this possible.”
What made you want to come to Israel?
“I’m originally from Los Angeles and I came to Israel almost four years ago for a gap year. Then I returned to the United States and began college at Rutgers University. It ended up not being the right fit for me and I dropped out after one month, came to Israel and enrolled in Yeshiva Aish HaTorah in the Old City instead – where he still studies.
“It became clear that I wanted to stay and continue my education in Israel instead. My parents wanted me to get a college degree and, understanding that was the practical thing to do, I agreed. I looked into schools with English-speaking options, and the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) seemed appropriate. COVID-19, unfortunately, delayed my enrollment a bit, but I’m here now, which is all that counts. It also helps, of course, that I’m enrolled in a degree that is a fraction of the cost of what I would have paid in the U.S.”
Do you think you would have chosen JCT if it wasn’t pressure from your parents?
“My parents wanted to make sure I had an education and, ultimately, they want what’s best for me. I agreed with them, but didn’t think it was super urgent. Right now, though, I’m happy with how it all worked out.”
How are you able to dedicate time to both your Torah and secular studies?
“JCT is great about accommodating those who want to study in a yeshiva. I’m in the Business Administration program, which is challenging, but only has class twice a week. This leaves plenty of time for my yeshiva studies, so that’s a big incentive.
“It’s also very close to the Old City where I study, which makes attending classes in person very convenient. I knew remote learning wasn’t for me – I need to be fully present in order to absorb information – so being able to leave my yeshiva and come to class has been great. I see the appeal of learning online, especially nowadays, but that’s not for me.”
Why did you choose business administration?
“I’ve always been interested in business. In 7th grade, a friend of mine and I bought a snow cone machine and sold them to a school nearby because our school got out a few weeks before theirs did. I even have a little small business on the side now, but it’s on a very small scale for now.”
You’re only a first-year student now, but do you know what your plans for the future are?
“Nothing concrete at the moment, but if I could run a ring of falafel stands, I certainly wouldn’t complain.”
Preceding provided by the Jerusalem College of Technology