web analytics
July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


The Frum Student’s Alternative to Yeshiva in Israel

A mechina is based on traditional Torah learning, but it also dedicates a significant chunk of its curriculum to developing Torah-based leadership skills and real-life tools outside of the classroom
Mechina boys learning with Rav Dovid Abrahomovitz (L.)

Mechina boys learning with Rav Dovid Abrahomovitz (L.)

Most students who attend Orthodox Jewish high schools in America are strongly encouraged – either formally or informally – to spend at least the year following graduation studying in a yeshiva in Israel, and a majority of them do.

That year spent in Israel is a cherished luxury for those who yearn to focus all their energy, nearly all day, nearly every day, absorbing the canonical Jewish texts and commentaries, without the distractions of secular life or study.

But not all observant high school graduates are prepared to sit and study Jewish texts for upwards of 10 hours a day, for an entire school year.  For those students, the choice has long been either giving in to pressure and signing up for an unwanted tour of duty that too often has unpleasant if not downright dangerous consequences, or to forgo altogether what may be the last opportunity to study Jewish text in the Jewish homeland at all.

Not anymore.

A speical program in Israel for post high school observant boys from the Diaspora has appeared on the scene.  This program is known as a “mechina,” and, at least thus far, its combination of text study with Zionist and educationally-inspired tiyulim (hikes), chesed (community service) and rigorous physical activity has provided the right answer for those who want to live in Israel before college, but for whom a traditional yeshiva was not the best fit.

Like a yeshiva, a mechina is based on traditional Torah learning, but it also dedicates a significant chunk of its curriculum to developing Torah-based leadership skills and real-life tools outside of the classroom.

Noah Lerner, from Edison, New Jersey will be attending Rutgers University next year.  This year Lerner is at Mechinat Yeud, a two year old program on the outskirts of Efrat.  Despite being from an observant family, Lerner was not planning on spending a year in Israel. He was eager to get on with college and move swiftly towards his goal of becoming a successful businessman. But now that he is more than halfway through his mechina year, Lerner could not be happier about his decision.

It was only by accident that Lerner found out about Mechinat Yeud.  He was sitting in the library during a free period in the beginning of his senior year, when he was approached and told there was someone in another room talking about a program in Israel that was not a yeshiva.  Lerner went to the session more out of boredom than interest in the program, but was excited by what he heard.

The learning is very important at Yeud, but what Lerner really loves is the opportunity to immerse himself in Israeli culture, “to have The Land be the classroom, to see the places I’ve learned about, to strengthen my Jewish identity in a way I’ll never have the opportunity to do again.”

A typical week at Yeud consists of rigorous learning sessions and lectures by leading Torah scholars, but also learning through experiences such as hikes Yam l’Yam (from the Mediterranean to the Kinneret), explorations of archeological digs, krav maga sessions, modified IDF boot camp, sessions on biomedical ethics and Jewish Law, volunteering at an animal therapy center, sessions on Jewish leadership roles in their future communities and working with “little brothers” with special needs or from underprivileged homes in the local communities.

Shmil Atlas is the executive director of Mechinat Yeud.  He recently spoke at length with The Jewish Press in an effort to explain what he hoped to achieve by creating Yeud. He said he and Rav Yaacov Shapiro, the founder and head of Yeud institutions – there is a Midreshet Yeud as well – had a vision of creating something dramatic and different with a year long educational program for observant young men from the diaspora.

Atlas says there are currently two ways the Modern Orthodox world responds to the secular world.  One is to become more isolated, to withdraw into what comes closer to a charedi experience, in order to shut out the outside world.  The other way is to daven, to engage in chevrusa learning, but when not specifically engaged in prayer or Jewish learning, to step completely outside of the “bubble” and act exactly like everybody else, i.e. not live as if Jewish values bind you when not engaging in “Jewish” life.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Frum Student’s Alternative to Yeshiva in Israel”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei
Iranian Expert: Khamenei Says No to Signed Deal as Iran Already Getting All it Wants
Latest News Stories
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei

Iran expert predicts there will be no signed deal because Iran already feels it can get all it wants without one.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Russian FM Lavrov met in Vienna with Iran’s Zarif in an unsuccessful bid to break a deadlock in nuclear talks.

Israeli Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel  takes in the annual cherry picking festival at kibbutz Rosh Tzurim in Gush Etzion.

When it comes down to it, it’s really about the milk. Minister Ariel just cut the price by nearly 5 percent.

Oketz is the IDF elite canine unit, trained to operate in every combat contingency.

The IDF plans to form a new elite commando unit.

Israeli leaders and families of fallen IDF soldiers gather to mark one year since Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

Tel Aviv has closed a deal to build its Light Rail with a Chinese firm that is doing business with Iran.

F.A.O. Schwarz is closing its iconic flagship store on NYC’s Fifth Avenue due to rising rent prices.

Some Chareidi Jews wore sackcloth (and probably ashes) yesterday, while praying at the Kotel on the 17th of Tammuz, a fast day.

The Shin Bet arrested six Negev Bedouin as budding members of a new ISIS terror cell.

The EU is warned that terrorists infiltrating among migrants via the Mediterranean Sea.

“Unfortunately, there are those who seek to exploit the sanctity of Ramadan, and distort its meaning in favor of … terrorism.”

In his first public comments following the tenure extension crisis, Rabbi Riskin delivered up some harsh criticism of the Chief Rabbinate.

Instead of accepting reality, the President is trying to hold on to an illusion.

He wants to show everything is “business as usual,” which everyone knows is not.

The Palestinian Authority Jawwal mobile phone company is back in business in Gaza after Hamas allowed it to resume operations following last week’s forced shutdown. Hamas claimed that Jawwal, part of the Paltel conglomerate run b one of Mahmoud Abbas’ closest confidantes, owed taxes. The terrorist organization did not explain why it was allowing Jawaal […]

Jordanian authorities seized 100 pounds of explosives carried by a member of an Iranian-backed group.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei

Iran expert predicts there will be no signed deal because Iran already feels it can get all it wants without one.

UN Human Rights Council

US alone voted no on UNHRC Resolution condemning only Israel for wrongdoing in last summer’s conflict.

The President announced he will ignore the letter of the law he just signed because it protects Judea and Samaria.

Remind Sen. Chuck Schumer that he said any deal with Iran must include “anywhere, anytime” inspections.

The OU respects the process which led to the Obergefell decision, but prays religious liberty won’t be sacrificed.

Flotilla activists escorted to Ashdod after IDF deters them from attempting to illegally breach the maritime blockade of Gaza

Hillary Clinton failed to turn over email exchanges with Sidney Blumenthal about Benghazi attacks.

Drexel honors virulent Israel and US critic Noam Chomsky; Drexel Hillel rabbi is enthusiastically supportive.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/the-frum-students-alternative-to-yeshiva-study-in-israel/2013/02/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: