Some 60 mechina heads and directors from all over Israel met this week at the Masada event hall. This was their fourth annual conference, held as always under the leadership of the Joint Council of Mechinot and in partnership with KKL.
On the first day of the two-day event, participants discussed educational dilemmas, shared insights and conclusions reached over the past year, and exchanged ideas about how to move the mechina enterprise forward. The second day included a hike for mechina heads in Tzafit Gully, culminating in a memorial marking the third anniversary of the Mechinat Bnei Zion disaster.
The third annual Tzafit Gully disaster commemoration
A different generation
The first day of the conference began with a lecture by Dr. Tamir Leon. An anthropologist who specializes in Israeli teen culture, Dr. Leon spoke about the characteristics of the COVID generation, the challenges that face millennials, and how everything ties in to the mechinot.
Later in the day, Minister of Settlement Affairs Tzachi Hanegbi came to talk with participants about the challenges currently facing the mechina world. “Thank you very much for inviting me to come. It’s important to me to hear, learn, and respond to what you have to say,” said Hanegbi. During the conversation, mechina heads and directors brought up their questions and requests with the minister and other representatives of the ministry.
A number of compelling educational topics came up during these parts of the program, reflecting the different views and perspectives of the different mechina heads
Attendees also bade an official farewell to Yos Eldar, a founder of the Joint Council and its first CEO, and the mechina heads took part in a discussion with Rabbi Chaim Navon, who spoke about Jewish, philosophical, and historical approaches to religion and state.
Over the course of the conference, various mechina heads led discussion circles for smaller groups about a range of educational issues, followed by a general discussion including all attendees. A number of compelling educational topics came up during these parts of the program, reflecting the different views and perspectives of the different mechina heads. In one such session, they talked about the contours of the young generation and the effects that progress and technological advancement have on teenagers.
At the conference
A memorial hike
On the second day of the conference, the mechina heads traveled together from Masada to Tzafit Gully, where they made their way along the hiking trail in groups. At the end of the trail, they held a memorial ceremony to mark three years since the Mechinat Bnei Zion disaster there. Among those present at the ceremony were Minister of Settlement Affairs Tzachi Hanegbi, former ministry director general Avi Naim, and representatives of the bereaved families.
“Today we walked along the gully again, for the second year, together with Sarit and Itzik, the parents of Ella Or, and Arik, the father of Shani Shamir. We followed the route of the hike, which ended in a terrible disaster. We listened and we said nothing,” said Dani Zamir, CEO of the Joint Council of Mechinot. “We want to take action so the disaster’s lessons will be assimilated and become a part of every day at every mechina, part of our dedication to a relevant, vibrant, and active educational system part of whose rhythm of activity is its dedication to the sanctity and the preservation of life.”
“From here, Tzafit Gully, we commit and dedicate ourselves to continue striving to learn, to put things in order, and especially to correct, both as individuals and as organizations, so we can continue to hike our beautiful land, but without endangering human life”
“From here, Tzafit Gully, we commit and dedicate ourselves to continue striving to learn, to put things in order, and especially to correct, both as individuals and as organizations, so we can continue to hike our beautiful land, but without endangering human life,” said Yaniv Mezuman, head of Mechinat Lachish and cochairman of the Joint Council, during the ceremony.
The ceremony was broadcast on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. on the website of the Joint Council, and simultaneously screened for the thousands of mechina students across Israel.
May the memory of all those who perished in the terrible disaster always remain in our hearts, a perpetual reminder of the obligation we all bear.
To view the ceremony, click here.