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Ongoing Updates From The Joint Council of Mechinot

A new beginning: Mechinat Hanegev founds alumni organization

After seventeen years of activity, Mechinat Hanegev has founded an alumni organization with the goal of helping graduates bring their social initiatives to fruition

Monday, 28 January 2019 10:22

Mechinat Hanegev is one of the oldest non-Orthodox mechinot (pre-military leadership academies). In keeping with the fact that many of the mechina’s alumni long ago finished their army service and academic studies, an organization has been founded with the specific aim of consolidating all alumni initiatives. The work of the organization is directed by a nine-member committee, including three representatives from each of three age categories: alumni currently serving in the IDF, alumni working on academic degrees, and alumni who have finished their education and established families. “Alumni are a fundamental part of the development of the mechina year and preserving the values we learned,” said alumni coordinator Tzahi Rubin. “A mechina organization needs to think mainly about the alumni and where they will be in the future,” “The main thing is to implement what we learned as we continue down the path.”

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The issues on which the alumni are working at this time are many and varied. Mabul (Alumni Learning Encounters) is a project that includes monthly lectures for alumni of the mechina on various current issues, while Daroma is a summer study program oriented toward graduates who are about to begin academic studies. The program encompasses content on public policy, Jewish identity, and the periphery, and seeks to bring participants back to the theoretical discourse in which they were immersed before their time in the army. The alumni organization recruited lecturers from Sapir College, and at the moment it is working on recruiting lecturers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Shalem College. The organization also collaborates with the Ramat HaNegev Regional Council and Mechinat Derech Eretz, and helps recruit alumni to work in informal education with preschool children in the Ramat HaNegev area, because the region suffered this year from a severe shortage of professionals. Participating alumni commit to take part in the program for a year and receive an enrichment package of professional seminars.

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“For years, alumni activity was managed by the alumni coordinator,” said Ido Amar, the fifth head of Mechinat Hanegev. “During the past year we started working to establish an independent alumni body that would advance the vision of the mechina—in Israeli society in general and the Negev in particular. Alumni take part in screening the coming classes, participate in the various navigation exercises and hikes that go on during the year, and produce climactic mechina events: Yom Kippur, Purim, and Shavuot. The first task is to trace out a vision and goals, and to give expression to the alumni’s work through their inner voice.”

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