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Ongoing Updates From The Joint Council of Mechinot

Ties between generations: The mechinot mark Yom Kippur

This Yom Kippur was marked differently by every mechina, each one in its own unique way.

Thursday, 04 October 2018 13:26

Yom Kippur at the mechinot is a special time that combines within it old and new traditions connecting the new students’ generation with graduates of previous classes. Each mechina constructed a Yom Kippur all its own, with content reflecting its unique character.

Tossing away and getting ready

Before the special day, some of the mechinot held the traditional Tashlich, a Jewish prayer service customarily observed on Rosh Hashana. During Tashlich, participants symbolically throw their sins into a body of flowing water.

At the Haifa affiliate of the Rabin Pre-Army Leadership Academy, students and staff went down to the nearby beach and held the ceremony there. Laura Talinovsky, head of the mechina’s Haifa affiliate, wrote: “We went to the sea to perform a short ceremony and throw off fears and pains so they wouldn’t stay with us into the new year. Everyone threw a symbolic stone into the water with whatever was weighing on her. Now, we can welcome with open arms the year 5779, a mechina year in which everything is open and the soul is ready.” The students even got a visit from a drone that took pictures of them at that special moment.

רבין תשליך כיפור

There are various ways of getting ready for Yom Kippur. At Mechinat Eitan(Hebrew), they chose a special way and went out for a “repentance hike” to Ein Akev and Chod Akev.

טיול יום כיפור

Both branches of the IMPJ Mechina, in Jaffa and Holon, held a mishmar, a full night of study and preparation ahead of the traditional Yom Kippur, the night before the holiday began. The students attended lectures together and paired off to study topics such as forgiveness, fasting, the story of Jonah the Prophet, and the meaning of repentance for modern men and women. At dawn, after a packed night, they held a special Slichot service.

Generations meet

We were happy to see that this year too, hundreds of mechina graduates chose to return to their mechinot to mark Yom Kippur with joint study and an atmosphere of powerful togetherness.

At the Meitzar Academy, in the southern Golan, some 200 graduates came together to experience Yom Kippur with an atmosphere that was different and meaningful. The graduates, together with staff, worked with this year’s class to construct a rich Yom Kippur schedule. The members of the mechina’s alumni council said: “It seems like at a mechina that isn’t willing to forgo putting human beings before great ideologies and believes that change always comes from within, it seems it’s possible to really understand that the essence of things lies in having peace between friends, in the joint learning, shared prayer in the familiar atmosphere of the Golan, in the most beautiful sunsets in Israel, and most of all, in a shared vision of a better world with people who know how to make a Yom Kippur for everyone and not ask only ‘How was it?’ but also ‘How could it be?’”

יום כיפור מיצר 2  יום כיפור מיצר 2

Further south, at Mechinat Hanegev(Hebrew), 80 graduates came to mark the special day together. Marking Yom Kippur at mechina is a new tradition that seeks to reach more deeply into the essence of the fast in the spirit of the mechina. The alumni managed the schedule and delivered most of the content during the fast.

יום כיפור 2

At Mechinat BINA in Tel Aviv, students and graduates came together with a large congregation for a full day of ceremonies, lectures, and workshops all about the holiday from a secular Jewish Israeli perspective. In addition to the Kol Nidrei, Musaf, and Neila ceremonies, the students of the mechina took part in a main learning session about the womb (rechem) and compassion (rachamim), a writing workshop on self-examination, a lesson on the dark connection between Purim and Yom Kippur, an open reading of the Book of Jonah, and a range of other meaningful sessions. “Like very year, it’s exciting to mark the day together and to introduce graduates from previous classes to the new generation of mechina students,” said the staff of the mechina.

יום כיפור קטן

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