Don’t miss this opportunity to explore Israel off the beaten track, feel the conflict first hand, understand the security issues and politic realities, and have an unforgettable trip!
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.
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.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
We are experiencing technical difficulties, and won’t be able to fix the site before Shabbat in Israel…
The IDF has confirmed 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23 of Kfar Saba is the soldier suspected kidnapped by Hamas on Friday.
Netanyahu called Kerry onto the carpet and Kerry and Ban Ki-Moon gave their assurances.
Hamas has learned the art of kidnapping from Hezbollah. Israel neeeds to figure out quickly how to deal with that.
3:31pm IDF Spox notifications: Hamas terrorists killed two IDF soldiers during the suspected kidnapping of 2nd Lt. Goldin this morning. We suspect that a group of Hamas terrorists, including a suicide attacker, kidnapped 2nd. Lt. Goldin at 9:30AM & dragged him into a tunnel. If our suspicions about today’s events are accurate, Hamas took advantage […]
This time Hamas may have succeeded in kidnapping a soldier.
Report: Hamas took advantage of the cease fire to attack IDF soldiers…
The IDF has released names of the soldier killed on Thursday night.
12:30pm Be’er Sheva Region, Ofakim… x2 10:50am Sirens at Eshkol. 10:03am – – Cease fire broken by Hamas – – Hamas fires rocket at Eshkol region. All winners, please collect your bets. No injuries were reported in the rocket strike. 9:30am Hamas hasn’t fired any rockets at Israel yet since the 8:00am cease fire went […]
If Israel finds a terror tunnel during the cease fire, do the terms of the cease fire allow it to be blown up?
Curious as to how long Israel has been rocket free? This site will tell you…
Hamas wants the Arabs in Judea and Samaria to join in…
As the 8:00am deadline for the cease fire approaches, Hamas has shot a lot rockets into Israel to get their last licks: 7:32am 08-01-2014 Bnei Ayish / Gan Yavne 7:32am 08-01-2014 Bnei Ayish / Gan Yavne 7:32am 08-01-2014 Bnei Ayish / Gan Yavne, Givati 7:31am 08-01-2014 Ashdod, Bnei Ayish / Gan Yavne, Givati 7:31am 08-01-2014 […]
Said Arikat is not just a journalist, he acts more like a lobbyist for the Palestinian Arab cause in daily press briefings at the State Department.
With all the violent hot spots around the world, only the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv reduced visa services.
Former head of German Jewry warns Jews of danger and decries others for silent complicity.
UNRWA spokesman wouldn’t say whose rockets were found in its schools for the third time.
In an alleged conversation, Obama demanded Israel agree to ceasefire, accept enemies as mediators.
Kerry’s performance panned by Israeli public, media, and even the PA. Why fury directed only at the Israeli government?
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: