The second annual Back to Mechina Conference took place this Friday. More than 100 candidates for mechina counselor and instructional positions spent the morning learning about opportunities with mechina heads and staff from over 20 mechinot. The event began with a presentation about the activities of the full-year and half-year mechinot. “Mechina was the most formative and influential experience in graduates’ lives,” said Omri Shifroni, head of Mechinat Rabin. “The backbone of social struggles that mechina alumni join is made up of dedicated mechina alumni who returned as counselors. The students who had me as a counselor and then came back as counselors themselves are now my most important partners as head of a mechina.” Stav Gill, who heads Erez, a network of mechinot backed by Aharai and the Jewish Agency, talked about the importance of working with a diverse group of teens representing Israeli society in order to produce real, deep change.
Next came a panel discussion by alumni who already returned as counselors to various mechinot: Amit Yahav, an alumna of the Mechina of the Upper Galilee and counselor at Mechinat Beeri; Yarden Gilinski, an alumnus and counselor at Mechinat Aderet; Nogah Fueredi, an alumna of Mechinat Rabin and counselor at Mechinat Melach HaAretz; and Shai Mualem, who graduated from the Ein Prat Academy for Leadership and is serving as a counselor at the half-year Erez mechina in Or Yehuda. The panelists talked about the doubts they had before deciding to return as counselors, discussed how their roles contribute to their personal development and let them help cultivate their students, and gave the audience a few tips for the journey ahead.
Finally, there was a series of roundtable discussions featuring mechina heads and staff. This year, the whole-year mechinot in attendance included Aderet, Arava, Beeri, Chamesh Etzbaot, Derech Eretz, Ein Prat, Gal, HaEmek, IsraElite, Lachish, Melach HaAretz, Migdalor, Nachshon, Rabin, Telem, and Upper Galilee, all of which sent representatives to meet and talk with candidates. They were joined by representatives from the half-year mechinot: Alma, Erez, Kol Ami, and more.
The Joint Council will continue managing the process and making connections between candidates and mechina staff to bring our graduates home for a year of ethical fulfillment as counselors.