Despite the restrictions presented by the coronavirus, campus life at IDC Herzliya has continued to thrive within the framework of regulations as laid out by the Ministry of Health. Classes may have been on zoom this semester, but with the majority of students still living in Herzliya, the need for a community life has been just as strong as ever.
“We helped bring 800 people from abroad to the IDC Herzliya community, and we were responsible for them quarantining. In addition to this, we made a huge effort to ensure their physical as well as their mental well-being” said Jonathan Davis, Head of the Raphael Recanati International School and VP for External Relations at IDC.
“Thanks to our dedicated team, not only were we in regular touch with concerned parents and dealing with complex logistics involving the ministries of Health and the Interior, but we also focused our efforts on making sure our students got regular doses of TLC so that no one was left unassisted.”
Quarantine and welcome packages were prepared by International students and delivered to hundreds of students quarantining in the dorms, with many more to come as students gradually return to campus. A Kindness Committee, provided weekly volunteer opportunities to give back, such as a blood drive with Magen David Adom, working with students with special needs, a clothing drive for women victims of domestic violence, and preparing care packages for Holocaust survivors. A Quarantine Committee, which helped students with basics for shabbat, and the Hospitality Committee, which set up students for shabbat meals was established. In addition, fitness facilities, such as the outdoor facilities and basketball courts were all made available for students on campus. Hundreds of students were invited to get vaccinated either on campus or in the medical center.
The annual Barry Tigay Orientation Week for first year International students was adapted. Instead of the traditional Orientation Trip, IDC Herzliya held the Online Clubs and Organizations Fair with hundreds of students, 30 clubs and organizations joining a Zoom call where they were introduced to the different activities and resources on offer.
All extracurricular and social activities and those run by the IDC Student Union, including the many student clubs, workshops, personal mentoring, and social and community involvement were adapted to meet the pandemic guidelines and made accessible to all students.
IDC continues to emphasize dedication and contribution to the community, with thousands of students continuing to engage in social and volunteer initiatives. Third year Government and Sustainability student Jônatas Santana from Brazil won the 2020 Annual Mimi Charnoff Award for Jewish Unity, an IDC award that goes out to students that go above and beyond. Jônatas set an example to other students by coordinating the work of all the student volunteers, supporting students in need and backing up the staff when required.
And in a special event, Raphael Recanati International School alumni Julia Gamarski from Brazil and Yossef Spivek from Ecuador were married at the lovely home of Rabbi Josh and Rebbetzin Margot Botwinik, the JLIC emissaries to the IDC Herzliya community, all according to health regulations. JLIC provides a Jewish Life umbrella for those many students that wish to take part in a plethora of Jewish activities.
Despite the challenging circumstances, RRIS has continued to play its part in upholding the special spirit that marks IDC Herzliya in all it does. “Regardless of the challenging coronavirus era, life on campus has been rewarding and stimulating in that I have maintained my academic integrity while still having a great social life.”