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6-9 MONTHS・CO-ED・ENGLISH & HEBREW

NORTH AMERICA・EUROPE・AMÉRICA LATINA・ISRAEL

The Mechina Olamit is a challenging, intensive, and highly rewarding leadership program in Israel that develops skills for life.

 

Operating in a religious Zionist, co-ed environment, Jewish high school graduates from around the world join with their Israeli counterparts for a truly transformative year in Israel. Guided by a strong team of dedicated staff, participants experience an incredible process of learning, self-empowerment, and growth, preparing them for the army, university and leadership roles in their communal and professional lives well into the future. 

*Note:

All World Bnei Akiva programs are continuing to run during this challenging period in Israel.

 

Applications for 2024 are still open! The deadline, which runs in line with the Joint Yeshiva & Seminary application was extended until 24th of January 2024. We will continue to accept applications past the deadline until places are full.

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At a glance

Duration: 6-9 months

August: Pre-Mechina days

September: Orientation, Gush Etzion Week

October: Chagim, Navigation Week, Jerusalem Seminar

November: Tzahal Week, Peoplehood Seminar

December: Southern Challenge, Chanukah Break

January: Volunteering, Yehuda/Shomron Week

February: Chovek Yisrael

March: Start of Garin: Internships / Sem or Yeshiva, Purim

April: Poland Journey, Pesach Break

May: Israel’s National Holidays, Northern Hike

June: Shavuot, Closing

The “Mechina” formula is a real Israeli success story. Each year tens of thousands of young Israelis join one of hundreds of Mechinot in the country to prepare for the challenges of transitioning from school into the IDF. Many of them go on to leadership roles both within and after the army.  Our Mechina Olamit program applies this same successful formula for young Jews from the around the world as they transition to university, community leadership roles, and their professional lives in the future. 

 

Living in Migdal Oz, just 30 min from Jerusalem, and learning with Israelis on the program, our participants will immerse themselves in experiential Torah learning‭, ‬deepening knowledge of Jewish Peoplehood‭, ‬community involvement‭, ‬leadership‭, ‬Hasbara‭, ‬discovering Israel‭, ‬fitness‭, ‬navigation skills‭, ‬training‭, ‬and more‭! ‬Throughout the program‭, ‬participants build friendships and connections with Jews from around the world‭, ‬that last for life‭!‬

 

Designed for post-high school (gap year) students, World Bnei Akiva, in partnership with Kol Ami, brings together a diverse group of students from around the world for a wide range of program components as part of the full 6 month program, as well as the optional Garin part of the program which extends an additional 3 months and includes further programming, plus your choice of Sem/Yeshiva or an Internship for 3 days a week, and a trip to Poland.

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Glance
  • Leadership Training
    With our professional guidance‭, ‬and carefully crafted activities and workshops‭, ‬participants develop their own unique leadership‭ ‬skills‭, ‬and the confidence to serve as a personal example‭. ‬Through their own initiative and teamwork they establish and run committees that steer the very course of the program‭, ‬and work on individual and group projects to hone their skills‭. ‬Committees are responsible for many aspects of Mechina life including educational content‭, ‬PR‭, ‬cooking‭, ‬army preparation‭, ‬tiyulim and more‭.‬
  • Torah learning and lifestyle
    Our learning program teaches a religious Zionist and Modern Orthodox educational philosophy‭. ‬We believe in learning for the sake‭ ‬of growing which makes classes lively‭, ‬positive‭, ‬relevant and involved‭. ‬Topics studied include Torah and Jewish texts‭, ‬tfilla‭, ‬emuna‭, ‬Jewish history‭, ‬Zionism‭, ‬and philosophy‭. ‬You’ll be guided throughout‭, ‬and different levels will be catered for‭. ‬To be a participant on the Mechina‭, ‬you don’t need prior knowledge in Jewish studies‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬you just need commitment to learn and to grow‭.‬
  • Community Service
    As part of the immersion into Israeli society and to contribute to it‭, ‬participants dedicate time to volunteer within a local community‭. ‬Projects include teaching English in schools‭, ‬visiting the elderly‭, ‬working with people with disabilities‭, ‬and agricultural work‭.‬
  • Love of Israel
    Participants discover Israel both geographically and socially‭, ‬as we encourage them to challenge their pre-existing perceptions‭ ‬of the country and the people‭. ‬They are exposed to all sectors of the Israeli population‭, ‬and develop their own understanding of‭ ‬how the pioneering spirit is still very much alive in contemporary Israel‭. ‬With the Love and connection to the Land of Israel being such a core element of the program‭, ‬our participants grow to become the newest link in the chain of pioneers‭.‬
  • Fitness Camp and Army Preparation
    We make every effort to ensure that participants going into the IDF have a meaningful service‭. ‬Therefore‭, ‬there are classes and‭ ‬activities carefully designed to deal with a wide range of subjects relating to army service including ethics‭, ‬leadership and structure of the IDF‭. ‬Twice a week there are physical training classes for all participants‭. ‬Classes are run by professionals as well as by participants‭. ‬Participants gain self-empowerment through coping with physically challenging situations‭, ‬and develop physical fitness and mental stability‭.‬
  • Hebrew Learning
    Throughout the program‭, ‬our international participants take part in our own dedicated‭ ‬“Ulpan”‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬intensive Hebrew learning course‭, ‬with 2‭ ‬classes a week divided according to 3‭ ‬different levels‭: ‬beginner‭, ‬intermediate and advanced‭. ‬However the best Hebrew learning is through their daily interactions with their Israeli peers at the Mechina with whom‭ ‬they share everything‭.‬
  • Jewish Peoplehood
    The Mechina Olamit strives to bolster the link between Israel’s Jews and Diaspora Jewry through their common historical‭, ‬religious‭, ‬and cultural heritage‭. ‬We actively work to instill within‭ ‬our participants a desire for mutual action and commitment to a stronger and positive Jewish future‭.‬
  • Seminars, Camp, and Trips
    There are regular three to six-day seminars and trips around the country to expose the participants to a wide array of topics and build an intimate familiarity with land of Israel‭. ‬Seminars include‭: ‬Israeli society‭, ‬Shoah‭, ‬Zionism‭, ‬Jewish Peoplehood‭, ‬Gush‭ ‬Etzion‭, ‬Navigation‭, ‬Army preparation‭, ‬Desert Survival and Chovek Israel‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬the final two-week trip from North to South of Israel‭ ‬planned entirely by participants‭. ‬Participants help plan and run many aspects of each trip and seminar‭, ‬including building educational elements‭, ‬accommodation‭, ‬cooking‭, ‬navigating‭, ‬and guest speakers‭. ‬
  • Safety and Security
    We understand that applicants and their families may have concerns about participant safety over the course of the program, and about the dynamic security situation in Israel. Your safety & security is our number one priority. As an approved MASA program, all World Bnei Akiva Hachshara Israel programs follow the safety and security guidelines outlined by MASA for all their programs. Please visit the MASA safety page for more information and interactive video with MASA’s Chief Security Officer, Amir Keinan.
  • Health and Wellbeing
    World Bnei Akiva take our participants’ physical & emotional wellbeing very seriously. Noting the rise in emotional challenges amongst youth, we have commissioned the services and support of “Keshev”- a professional organization in the mental health and wellness field. Keshev provides us a with a wide variety of services including group sessions and one-on-one meetings with participants on topics of mental health such as anxiety, depression, sexuality, eating disorders and more. They provide emergency on-call support to staff, and designated on site hours for any participant who needs extra support mentally or emotionally. Through their team, our participants and staff are offered guidance and support needed, to help them to have an emotionally healthy and safe year. To learn more visit www.keshevcenter.com
Program

The Garin

 

The final 3 months of the program, known as the “Garin”, is for the overseas participants only as the Israelis leave to draft to the IDF. After intensive programming throughout the core of the Mechina, the Garin offers participants the opportunity to now live more independently, and focus on an experiential track of interest that they choose. Living together on the Mechina campus, participants will spend 3 days of each week in one of two tracks. The remaining 2 weekdays and weekends incorporate programming at the campus including sports, classes, seminars, field trips and more. Overseas participants who are considering leaving together with Israelis after 6 months should enquire during registration.

CHOOSE YOUR OWN TRACK; read more >>>

JOURNEY TO PLAND; read more >>>>>>

  • Leadership Training
    With our professional guidance‭, ‬and carefully crafted activities and workshops‭, ‬participants develop their own unique leadership‭ ‬skills‭, ‬and the confidence to serve as a personal example‭. ‬Through their own initiative and teamwork they establish and run committees that steer the very course of the program‭, ‬and work on individual and group projects to hone their skills‭. ‬Committees are responsible for many aspects of Mechina life including educational content‭, ‬PR‭, ‬cooking‭, ‬army preparation‭, ‬tiyulim and more‭.‬
  • Torah learning and lifestyle
    Our learning program teaches a religious Zionist and Modern Orthodox educational philosophy‭. ‬We believe in learning for the sake‭ ‬of growing which makes classes lively‭, ‬positive‭, ‬relevant and involved‭. ‬Topics studied include Torah and Jewish texts‭, ‬tfilla‭, ‬emuna‭, ‬Jewish history‭, ‬Zionism‭, ‬and philosophy‭. ‬You’ll be guided throughout‭, ‬and different levels will be catered for‭. ‬To be a participant on the Mechina‭, ‬you don’t need prior knowledge in Jewish studies‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬you just need commitment to learn and to grow‭.‬
  • Community Service
    As part of the immersion into Israeli society and to contribute to it‭, ‬participants dedicate time to volunteer within a local community‭. ‬Projects include teaching English in schools‭, ‬visiting the elderly‭, ‬working with people with disabilities‭, ‬and agricultural work‭.‬
  • Love of Israel
    Participants discover Israel both geographically and socially‭, ‬as we encourage them to challenge their pre-existing perceptions‭ ‬of the country and the people‭. ‬They are exposed to all sectors of the Israeli population‭, ‬and develop their own understanding of‭ ‬how the pioneering spirit is still very much alive in contemporary Israel‭. ‬With the Love and connection to the Land of Israel being such a core element of the program‭, ‬our participants grow to become the newest link in the chain of pioneers‭.‬
  • Fitness Camp and Army Preparation
    We make every effort to ensure that participants going into the IDF have a meaningful service‭. ‬Therefore‭, ‬there are classes and‭ ‬activities carefully designed to deal with a wide range of subjects relating to army service including ethics‭, ‬leadership and structure of the IDF‭. ‬Twice a week there are physical training classes for all participants‭. ‬Classes are run by professionals as well as by participants‭. ‬Participants gain self-empowerment through coping with physically challenging situations‭, ‬and develop physical fitness and mental stability‭.‬
  • Hebrew Learning
    Throughout the program‭, ‬our international participants take part in our own dedicated‭ ‬“Ulpan”‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬intensive Hebrew learning course‭, ‬with 2‭ ‬classes a week divided according to 3‭ ‬different levels‭: ‬beginner‭, ‬intermediate and advanced‭. ‬However the best Hebrew learning is through their daily interactions with their Israeli peers at the Mechina with whom‭ ‬they share everything‭.‬
  • Jewish Peoplehood
    The Mechina Olamit strives to bolster the link between Israel’s Jews and Diaspora Jewry through their common historical‭, ‬religious‭, ‬and cultural heritage‭. ‬We actively work to instill within‭ ‬our participants a desire for mutual action and commitment to a stronger and positive Jewish future‭.‬
  • Seminars, Camp, and Trips
    There are regular three to six-day seminars and trips around the country to expose the participants to a wide array of topics and build an intimate familiarity with land of Israel‭. ‬Seminars include‭: ‬Israeli society‭, ‬Shoah‭, ‬Zionism‭, ‬Jewish Peoplehood‭, ‬Gush‭ ‬Etzion‭, ‬Navigation‭, ‬Army preparation‭, ‬Desert Survival and Chovek Israel‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬the final two-week trip from North to South of Israel‭ ‬planned entirely by participants‭. ‬Participants help plan and run many aspects of each trip and seminar‭, ‬including building educational elements‭, ‬accommodation‭, ‬cooking‭, ‬navigating‭, ‬and guest speakers‭. ‬
  • Safety and Security
    We understand that applicants and their families may have concerns about participant safety over the course of the program, and about the dynamic security situation in Israel. Your safety & security is our number one priority. As an approved MASA program, all World Bnei Akiva Hachshara Israel programs follow the safety and security guidelines outlined by MASA for all their programs. Please visit the MASA safety page for more information and interactive video with MASA’s Chief Security Officer, Amir Keinan.
  • Health and Wellbeing
    World Bnei Akiva take our participants’ physical & emotional wellbeing very seriously. Noting the rise in emotional challenges amongst youth, we have commissioned the services and support of “Keshev”- a professional organization in the mental health and wellness field. Keshev provides us a with a wide variety of services including group sessions and one-on-one meetings with participants on topics of mental health such as anxiety, depression, sexuality, eating disorders and more. They provide emergency on-call support to staff, and designated on site hours for any participant who needs extra support mentally or emotionally. Through their team, our participants and staff are offered guidance and support needed, to help them to have an emotionally healthy and safe year. To learn more visit www.keshevcenter.com

Journey to Poland

 

A highlight of the Garin is the journey to Poland. In preparation for this journey a special seminar exposes participants to different issues related to the Shoah, including pre-war European Jewry, the partisan forces, the relationship with the foundation of Israel, the role of the Zionist youth movements during this period, and how survivors were treated in Israel after the war. Visits to Israel’s Holocaust museums, and survivor testimonials help to frame the experiences to come on the Journey to Poland.

 

Starting and ending in Israel, the trip focuses on the experiences of Polish Jewry throughout its history. We explore the immense and beautiful Jewry of pre-war Poland, dating back 800 years, and examine the years of the Holocaust by visiting Jewish ghettos, death and labour camps, and other significant sites. The trip is prepared meticulously by our educational team to ensure a most powerful and meaningful experience.

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Meet The Team

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AYELET MYERS

Office Manager, Mechina Olamit

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AVISHAI AUGENBRAUN

Head, Mechina Olamit

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Director of Israel Programs

DAPHNA REFAELI

Team

HOW TO APPLY

  1. Click below on the APPLY HERE button  |  Once you have begun the application process, you can sign back in as many times as you like to continue the application.

  2. Register with MASA at www.masaisrael.org  |  Masa is a project of the Israeli government that offers Hachshara participants an automatic grant, with further needs based funding available.

 

How much does the Mechina Olamit cost‭?‬

The 2023 price for the full 9 months (Mechina an Garin) is 69,000 NIS. For those who only do the 6 months Mechina it’s 48,000 NIS. The cost will cover tuition, seminars, tiyulim, accommodation, special Shabbatot, group transportation, staff and medical insurance.

 

Not covered by the medical insurance are costs related to optical care and treatment of prior dental problems, medical care relating to pre-existing conditions. The full Maccabi insurance policy details and it’s exclusions can be viewed here.  In addition, you may want laundry done at certain parts of the year (eg. Marva/Mada periods), and you may be required to purchase your own books and learning materials for the study periods.

 

How will I know if I have been accepted‭?‬

After we receive and review your application‭, ‬you’ll be invited for an interview‭. ‬Your interview allows us to get to know you a bit better and assess your suitability for the program‭. ‬It will also give you the opportunity to ask any specific questions you may have‭.‬

 

Shortly after the interview‭, ‬you’ll be informed of your acceptance‭. ‬Your place will be confirmed only after the payment plan has been agreed‭.‬

How to apply
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Maya, USA

Mechina olamit didn’t just prepare me for the army it prepared me for life. I learned leadership skills, navigation, and completed challenges I never thought were possible and made friends for life. Mechina fostered my love of Israel, zionism, judaism and personal growth. Mechina was the greatest experience ever and I would recommend it to everyone!!

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Liam, USA

Mechina overall has been an experience of a life time where I made friends from all of the world that I’ll have forever, and overall prepared me for my future in the army. Some of the highlights from Mechina were tzhal week and navigation week.

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Noa, Italy

Mechina helped me strengthen my connections with the Israeli land, the Israeli culture and the Israeli people and I will truly never forget the valuable lessons I learnt and the many experiences I was lucky to have.

Testimonials
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