When people ask me what the highlight of my time at Milken has been I always answer “Tiferet”. This answer might sound obvious or overused, but Tiferet was the most remarkable and life-changing experience I have participated in during my high school career.
It is hard to put into words why Tiferet is so special. I think it is a combination of the travel, the friends, and the independence. It is the amazing adventures, breathtaking sites, and rich culture. Climbing Masada at four in the morning followed by a visit to the Dead Sea is just an average day on Tiferet. One of my biggest accomplishments was reaching the top of Masada and looking down at all I had climbed. It was hard, no doubt, but I had done it. The feeling of pride rushed through my body as we stood and watched the sunrise. As the sky turned from black to orange we learned about the place we were standing on. Taking what I learned in the classroom and seeing it in person remains today an incredible learning opportunity.
Tiferet is not easy; it comes with a lot of baggage. With homework and weekly trips across Israel, you become exhausted. Personally, I learned things about myself that I didn’t know before. Through the balance of school and fun, I learned how I best work, and how to live with others. By being exposed to new and scary situations I learned how to problem solve, and how to deal with others. This is invaluable information to have as I enter my freshman year of college. Looking back on those four months, I am so thankful for the experience I had on Tiferet and would not trade it for the world.
Despite my amazing experience, the Tiferet program’s reputation seems to have changed in the past couple of years. Now, people have no interest in going because of the “strict rules and limitations”. The once highly-anticipated program has turned into a program for a select few students, with little talk in favor of going. With the price being more expensive I understand hesitance but what I don’t understand is why the talk about Tiferet has flipped from positive to negative so suddenly, and why nobody seems to want to go anymore. I understand Tiferet is not for everybody, and everybody is not for Tiferet, but it is still, in essence, the same program that it always was. From what I have picked up on recently, people get held up on the specifics and don’t think about the overall experience. The rules have become more strict because of instances where trust was broken but it is understandable because they want to keep us safe. Being responsible for many high schoolers calls for strict rules to be set.
Dear underclassmen: I encourage you to apply to the Tiferet program. You will never regret applying, and you can always withdraw your application. Partake in Tiferet because it is an once in a lifetime experience. Don’t let the negative talk determine your decision. Apply! Take advantage of an amazing opportunity that few people can.