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Tasting a slice of Jerusalem before Aliyah

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We invite you to explore with us Beit Israel in Jerusalem. Aside from the ultra orthodox mix of this thriving neighborhood, the name Beit Israel also relates to another colorful blend of local Jerusalem society, in this instance catering for a young audience.

Located in Jerusalem; highly diverse group that seeks to build bridges between sectors of the Jewish people; study and volunteer program combines traditional Jewish study, understanding of Israeli society and engagement with the mechina’s local community.

Mechinat Beit Yisrael is a mixed religious-secular program that is part of the Beit Yisrael/Kvutzat Reut urban kibbutz community.  The Beit Yisrael/Kvutzat Reut community is located in the Gilo Aleph housing complex in Jerusalem.  During this year of Jewish study and community volunteering, one can develop greater understanding, appreciation and respect for the “other,” through learning, discussion and shared experiences.

Learning In the Classroom and Beyond

At Mechinat Beit Yisrael’s study program, participants examine and strengthen their Jewish identity, while coming to respect other attitudes, beliefs and mindsets. Each week consists of 18 courses, taught from a broad range of perspectives, covering topics like modern Israeli society and Zionism; traditional Jewish text study; philosophy; art and literature; Jewish history; and Jerusalem history.

Beyond the classroom, one gets to explore Israel through 4-6 day field trip seminars in different locations all around the country, four times throughout the year.  Through interactions with local residents, participants learn firsthand about the people, politics and history of the different locations, such as the Negev, the Galilee, “development towns,” and more.

Yachad Gap Year

Yachad Gap Year gives an opportunity to have the ultimate immersion experience in Israel, by living, studying and volunteering in Israeli mechina programs with young Israelis.  The word Yachad means “together,” and as a participant, an Israel experience is more up-close and personal than any other – because of doing it together with one’s Israeli peers.

The word mechina means “preparation.”  When young Israelis want to take a gap year after high school, to learn more about their culture, society, and their Jewish identity, they can participate in one of 40mechina programs.  And just as Israelis use their mechina experience to launch them into elite units and leadership positions in the IDF, one can use the mechina experience to enhance a resume and improve one’s standing in university admissions.

Today, there are mechina programs in all parts of Israel, representing all different parts of Israeli society.  There are mechinot in the bustle and excitement of Tel Aviv, in the natural beauty of the Golan Heights, or in the serene calm of the Negev desert.  There religious Zionist mechinot, mechinot that bring religious and secular Jews together, mechinot that promote volunteering in Arab-Jewish coexistence projects and more.

Yachad represents several of these mechinot, whose goal is to forge strong connections between Jews in the Diaspora with Israel and their Israeli peers, while building a sense of Jewish peoplehood in the next generation of Jewish leaders, both in Israel and around the Jewish world.

All mechinot are approved by the Israeli ministries of Education and Defense, and are held to rigorous standards for program quality.  Yachad is a joint project of the UJA Federation of New York and the Joint Mechinot Council.

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