What is Yachad Gap Year?
The word Yachad means "together," Yachad Gap Year gives you the opportunity to have the ultimate immersion experience in Israel, by participating in Israeli mechina programs with Israelis your age.
What is a "Mechina?"
The word mechina means "preparation." When young Israelis want to take a gap year after high school, to learn more about their culture, society, and their Jewish identity, they can participate in one of 60 mechina programs. Just as Israelis use their mechina experience to launch them into elite units and leadership positions in the IDF, you can use your mechina experience to enhance your resume and improve your standing in university admissions.
What kinds of programs are available?
Today, there are mechina programs in all parts of Israel, representing all different parts of Israeli society. There are mechinot in the bustle and excitement of Tel Aviv, in the natural beauty of the Golan Heights, or in the serene calm of the Negev desert. There are religious Zionist mechinot, fully-secular mechinot, mechinot that bring religious and secular Jews together, mechinot that promote volunteering in Arab-Jewish coexistence projects, and more.
What if I'm not sure which mechina is right for me?
Not a problem! Just contact us, and we'll schedule a time to talk on the phone to help advise you on which mechina is right for you.
How do I sign up?
The first step in the process is to fill out our registration form. If you are still undecided about which mechina is right for you, we will contact you to help you make your decision. If you know which mechina you'd like to sign up for, we'll put you in touch with a representative of the mechina, who will continue the application process with you. The process varies for each mechina, though the process will likely include a phone/Skype interview. Once you have completed the process and been accepted to the mechina, a Yachad staff member will be back in touch with you to help guide you through some of the logistical processes.
Who is behind Yachad?
Yachad is a project of the Joint Mechinot Council. The Council represents all 60 of the mechinot currently operating in Israel. Yachad represents those mechinot that are interested in absorbing participants from abroad, both to offer a one-of-a-kind gap year experience for young Jews from around the world, and to bring fresh and unique perspectives into the mechina environment to benefit Israeli participants as well.
Do I have to know Hebrew?
Here is an answer from a Yachad alumnus:
“Personally, I had pretty weak Hebrew skills when I arrived, and I can say that the first couple of months were difficult to adjust to. However, I don't remember a day that went by where I didn't have tons and tons of support from my friends. People were constantly translating for me at the beginning, and sometimes my friends even did reviews of lectures so that I could take away as much as possible.
The Israelis want to help. There have always been people doing everything they can to make sure that we are on the same page as everybody else.
If you come to Yachad with motivation and drive, you will accomplish anything you want. I'm proud to say that I now have strong Hebrew speaking skills.”
I am an Israeli citizen. Do I need to worry about being drafted into IDF service?
No. There are various allowances made by the Ministry of Defense to allow Israeli citizens who have been living abroad to return to Israel without being drafted. Please contact us so that we may provide information specific to your situation.