THE MECHINA OLAMIT
The Mechina Olamit, run in partnership between World Bnei Akiva and Kol Ami, is a pre-military program, and preparatory school for life. It is a half-year course, run in a religious, Zionist, co-ed environment. The program is open for Bnei Akiva bogrim from around the world who are graduating school, as well as for Israelis.
Together participants experience an incredible process of learning, self-empowerment, and preparation for the army and/or community service. Participants gain knowledge, values and skills guided by a strong team of dedicated leaders.
Mechina Olamit is about experiential Torah learning, deepening knowledge of Jewish Peoplehood, Jewish World connections, community involvement, leadership, Hasbara, discovering Israel, friendships, fitness, navigation skills, training, and so much more.
The Mechina is an intensive program with the purpose of striving for excellence in body, mind and soul for its participants.
Our goal is to help shape a new generation of religious, Zionist leaders and instill vision, purpose, and the resolve and ability to implement real change, both within themselves, and for society at large.
Participants develop leadership abilities and the desire to serve as a personal example. Participants establish and run committees working on individual and group projects. Committees are responsible for many aspects of Mechina life including educational content, PR, cooking, army preparation, tiyulim and more.
Torah Learning and lifestyle
We believe in learning for the sake of growing which makes classes lively, positive, and involved. Topics studied include Torah and Jewish texts, tfilla, emuna, Jewish history, Zionism, and philosophy. The learning and the everyday living is based on the religious Zionist Bnei Akiva lifestyle.
As part of the immersion into Israeli society and to contribute to it, participants dedicate time to volunteer within their community. Projects include teaching English in schools, visiting the elderly, working with the disabled and agricultural work.
Love of Israel
Participants get to know Israel both geographically and socially. We encourage our participants to challenge their perceptions of the country. Participants are exposed to all sectors of the Israeli population. They develop their understanding of how the pioneering spirit is still very much alive in contemporary Israel. A big focus is placed on the Love of and connection to the Land of Israel
Fitness & Army Preparation
The program wishes to ensure that participants going into the IDF have as meaningful a service as possible. Therefore, there are classes and activities dealing with a wide range of subjects concerning 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 difficult situations and develop physical fitness and mental stability.
Developing Jewish Peoplehood
The Mechina Olamit strives to formalize the link between Israel's Jews and Diaspora Jews through their common historical and cultural heritage, while inspiring desire for mutual action and commitment to the future.
Seminars and trips
There are regular three to six-day seminars and trips around the country. Participants help plan and run many aspects of each trip including finding accommodation, building educational elements, cooking, navigating and arranging guest speakers. Seminars include: Navigation week, Judea and Samaria week, Streams of Judaism week, Jewish Peoplehood Seminar, Army preparation week, Desert trip and Chovek Israel (final two-week trip from North to South of Israel planned entirely by participants).
DAY TO DAY
A typical day at the Mechina Olamit begins early in the morning with tfilla and then either with a 'Madas' (work-out), or with 'Boker Tov', a participant-run activity to begin the day in the right mindset.
In classic Mechina fashion meals are cooked by the participants themselves based on a rotation, they plan everything from budgeting to cooking and cleaning.
The participants are divided amongst different Va'adot, or committees, with each being responsible for a different aspect the Mechina. The Va'adot meet several times during the week to plan and develop their various projects.
In addition to this time, days in the Mechina consist of many shiurim and classes. There are educators and Rabbis teach courses and sometimes classes are led by the counselors or participants themselves.
Each week has a unique theme and in addition to the core classes, additional activities are added each week to tie in the week's theme. Once a week there is community involvement time during which participants go out into their communities and do activities such as teaching English in local schools, visiting old aged homes, agricultural work and running activities for local children.
Days are extremely busy with few breaks and programming usually ends around 10 p.m.
What is the Mechina's connection with World Bnei Akiva Mechina and Kol Ami?
The Mechina Olamit is run by World Bnei Akiva in partnership with Kol Ami. Kol Ami, the Jewish Peoplehood Leadership Academy, has been operating for 10 years, and is run by the Jewish Agency and works with MASA. It is approved by the Ministry of Education and the IDF and is part of the Mechinot Ofek network of mechinot.
Where is the Mechina Olamit based?
The Mechina Olamit is based in Kibbutz Migdal Oz.
Where do participants come from?
There are three main groups on the program:
Israelis enrolling in the army the following March.
Participants from abroad who are either taking a gap year, becoming "lone soldiers" or are olim chadashim.
Australians and South Africans participating in the World Bnei Akiva Limmud gap year program who spend the final three months of their year at the Mechina. Limmud participants return to Australia in December, half way through the six months.
What language is the program run in?
The program is split into two three-month semesters. The first three months of the program is run in English and the second three months is run in Hebrew.
Where do the participants live and eat?
Participants from mixed backgrounds live in rooms of four or five. The rooms are basic and include air-conditioning and en-suite bathroom. Breakfast and dinner are prepared by the participants and Lunch is in the kibbutz dining hall. Kashrut is strictly observed.
What is the religious observance at the Mechina Olamit?
The Mechina is orthodox, and Zionist. Participants at the Mechina Olamit are expected to be observant of halacha, Shabbat observance is kept in all public and private spaces. Three tfillot a day is mandatory for both male and female participants. There is a high level of tzniut with regards to dress code and modest behavior.
What is the price of the program?
45,000 NIS before MASA scholarship. Price includes room, board, tuition and activities during program time. Grants on a needs basis are available.