From Galilee to Richmond – Israeli twins begin new chapter in the U.S at Godwin

Snir (l) and Yarden at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Leaving your home for an unknown future is always intimidating, and the journey isn’t always clear. For some, it may be the biggest struggle of their life. Nonetheless, for others, it becomes the best decision they have made.

Juniors Yarden and Snir Laron moved to Richmond from Israel this school year, and although their life has been uprooted from what they knew back in Israel, the twin brothers have a positive outlook on the United States.

“Life here is quite weird for us. It’s really different from Israel,” said Yarden.

The two brothers moved to Richmond because their father was offered a job at Sabra, a popular maker of hummus. Before moving, they lived in Misgav, located in the Galilee region of northern Israel.

“You would know where we are from if you are religious, as Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee, not too far from where we were,” said Yarden.

According to the brothers, life in the United States has been quite positive for them.

“Everyone here is so polite, and everyone seems to be very apologetic,” said Snir. “They are apologetic even if I did wrong.”

The twins also mentioned how diverse the U.S. is compared to Israel.

“Israel is a very diverse country with many people, but here, you can see how diverse each community is,” said Yarden.

Snir (l) and Yarden snowboarding at Snowshoe Mountain in Snowshoe, W.Va.

The two siblings have had a welcoming experience at Godwin and according to them, many students have offered help and open arms.

”We came to Godwin because our parents thought it was the best school in Richmond,” Yarden said. “Everyone noticed that we are new and they try to help us all the time.”

“It’s been a great experience,” said Snir.

Yarden is currently training and will be playing on Godwin’s football team in the coming season, hoping to be involved with the school.

“For now I am lifting weights in the training room to prepare for the upcoming season in August,” said Yarden.

As for high school in general, the two cited both similarities and differences.

“We had seven classes as well back home, and we were required to take English,” Snir said. “We also had to take some form of math, Hebrew, government, and history,” said Yarden. “Then, we were able to choose two more electives of our choice.”

One difference the twins noticed was that the variety of electives to choose from was more diverse in Israel. While Snir enjoyed theatre and psychology as electives, Yarden preferred electronic music and physics.

“The curriculum was much harder and you were treated like an adult, as you were more responsible for yourself,” said Yarden.

Unlike Godwin, the brothers’ last school had numerous breaks throughout the school days.

“Every two periods, there was a break period lasting for at least 15 minutes,” said Yarden. “Sometimes, there were even 30 minute breaks.”

“We had Fridays off at my school,” said Snir.

Depending on your schedule, students would leave as early as midday, but the more classes a student took on, the later that student would stay.

Yarden (l) and Snir at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg riding the Griffon. This was their first time visiting the amusement park since their move to the U.S.

“In Israel, your schedule is for a week and not for days,” said Yarden. “There is also no school lunch, so we normally left after one o’clock.”

Like many westernized countries, lunch is the largest meal of the day, so students go home rather than eat at school.

“We usually had a big lunch after school, mostly at home,” said Yarden.

As the twins are adjusting to the way of life in the United States, they also notice things unique to the American culture.

“There are so many stores in one area, I just don’t get how they all make so much money,” said Yarden. “There are also a lot of food choices and many fast food places, which are not really good, but it is a lot cheaper.”

Regardless of the differences between the two countries, both agreed on how grateful they are to have the opportunity to live in the United States.

“It’s been great at Godwin, and we are grateful for being welcomed here,” said Yarden.

All photos courtesy Yarden Laron

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