At a Glance:
Located in Jerusalem; a highly diverse group that seeks to build bridges between sectors of the Jewish people; study and volunteer program combining traditional Jewish study, understanding of Israeli society and engagement with the local community.
Mechinat Beit Yisrael is a mixed religious-secular program that is part of the Beit Yisrael/Kvutzat Reut urban kibbutz community. The Beit Yisrael/Kvutzat Reut community is located in the Gilo Aleph housing complex in Jerusalem. During this year of Jewish study and community volunteering, you will develop greater understanding, appreciation and respect for the “other,” through learning, discussion and shared experiences.
Learning in the Classroom and Beyond
During Mechinat Beit Yisrael’s study program, you will examine and strengthen your Jewish identity, while coming to respect other attitudes, beliefs and mindsets. Each week you’ll have 18 courses, taught from a broad range of perspectives, covering topics such as modern Israeli society and Zionism; traditional Jewish text study; philosophy; art and literature; Jewish history; and Jerusalem history.
Beyond the classroom, you’ll explore Israel through 4-6 day field trip seminars in different locations around the country during the year. Through interactions with local residents, you’ll learn firsthand about the people, politics and history of the different locations, such as the Negev, the Galilee, “development towns,” and more.
In the Community
You’ll volunteer three afternoons a week in community programs for disadvantaged local youth. While gaining valuable educational tools for yourself, you’ll also make a positive contribution to your neighborhood of Jerusalem. Volunteering programs include tutoring (in local schools and outside them) elementary and high school students, mentoring at-risk children, staffing a local youth movement, local environmental projects, communal holiday programs, a summer camp, and more.
In Beit Yisrael, you’ll be part of a community whose members come from different places, backgrounds and opinions, and through study and dialogue, you’ll all learn to speak the same language. The group is self-governing and responsible for all aspects of life in the mechina, from cooking meals to planning seminars, Shabbats and volunteer projects, and more. You’ll take part in committees to plan and lead all activities, under the advice and guidance of the adult staff.