Finally, an open and heartfelt account of the often life-changing year in Israel so many of us have experienced or whose children will likely experience. We are excited to share this exclusive interview with Adele Chabot, author of The Best Secret Revealed. Adele tells of some of her personal experiences and explains how she came to write this book.

 The Best Secret Revealed cover

Who is this book written for?

This book is written primarily for teenage girls and guys interested in spending a year in Israel and for their parents. It is also written for any person that wants to strengthen their connection to God or the Land of Israel.

 

Do you have to be Orthodox to enjoy this book?

No you do not. In fact, you do not even have to be Jewish. The passion behind the stories, the love of life, enthusiasm for learning and desire to make the most of everyday are universal ideas that anyone can appreciate. 

 

Why did you write this book?

I wrote this book because when seminary and yeshiva alumni are asked about their year in Israel, the alumni have trouble putting their experience into words. Future students need more than just the word “amazing” to help them make an informed decision and enter the year with realistic expectations. The stories in this book are all the words alumni struggle to find.


How long did it take you to write this book?

Five years. I started it my year in Israel. While I was there, I sent very detailed emails home about my day-to-day activities so friends and family back home in America could benefit from what I was learning and seeing everyday. I then went through all of my emails and turned them into the short stories of the book.


The book is divided into 4 parts... What are they and what is your favorite part?

The four basic components that make up a year in Israel: Everyday life, Shabbatot, Trips and Holidays. My favorite part would have to the Shabbatot section. Getting the opportunity to spend Shabbat in a different city almost every single weekend, and the chance to see the country from the perspective of people who lived there was incredible.


This is a book of true stories. Which story is your favorite one?

Meeting two young guys on a bus one Saturday night as I headed to Jerusalem, and discussed the end of the world with them is definitely an experience that sticks out in my mind and has made a lasting impression.

Lying down on the ground one Friday night and counting shooting starts in the night sky of Caesaria is a close second.


Is your perspective unique?

I do not think my perspective is unique as there are many other people who share similar feelings and experiences. What I do find unique is my struggle to get to Israel and the tenfold appreciation I had for the year as a result. I did not take even one minute for granted.

 

List for me the five most important things that you got out of your year in Israel.

  1. Love of God and His Torah
  2. Admiration for the nation of Israel
  3. Connectedness to the Land of Israel
  4. Excitement for life and the world
  5. Meaningful and lasting friendships

 

Is this book all about yeshiva? What if I want to go to Israel but not learn in a yeshiva?

There are exactly 2 stories in this book that deal with life that is only unique to yeshiva students. The other 40 in the book can apply to everyone.

 

Which kind of high school kid would you say SHOULD NOT go to Israel for a year abroad?

A teen that is going to Israel solely to party and get away, and is not interested in personal growth SHOULD NOT go to Israel.

 

What about the danger?

There are strict security programs in place in Israel. I was well protected anywhere I went and did not feel any sense of uneasiness or danger.

 

How often did you communicate with your friends and family who were back in the States?

Almost every day.

 

Did you meet kids from different states/countries?

Of course. The girls that learned in my school were from different states and countries as well as the many people I met walking through the streets of Israel.

 

Do you have to know how to speak Hebrew to spend a year in Israel?

Absolutely not. You can easily live day to life without speaking a single word of Hebrew. Most of the signs in Israel are written in both Hebrew in English and most of the people there speak English as well.

 

What are the holidays like away from your family?

Holidays away from my family were tough. If I ever got homesick, I tried to focus heavily on the moment and the experience I was going through, and not what could have been happening if my family was there.

 

Do you think the “year in Israel” has changed over the past decades?

Definitely. Improved technology and new methods of communication have made leaving home easier than ever.  Now, with all of the teens choosing to spend a year abroad in Israel, companies and organizations have sprung up aimed at helping them have a better year.

 

Check out The Best Secret Revealed here.