OUR NAME & SYMBOLS
Bnei Akiva - Our Name
'Bnei Akiva' is Hebrew and means ‘children of Akiva’.
The Akiva referred to is Rabbi Akiva, who lived in Israel during the Roman era. Rabbi Akiva combined being a great Torah scholar with visionary leadership and a genuine love for his fellow Jew. Although he only took up Torah learning at the age of 40, he became one of the greatest ever teachers, raising up the generation of rabbis who compiled the Mishna. Despite witnessing the destruction of the Second Temple and the failed Bar Kochba Rebellion, which aimed to restore Jewish independence in the Land of Israel, Rabbi Akiva remained full of hope, confident that the land would one day become a Jewish homeland again. As this prediction unfolds before our very eyes, we commit ourselves to emulating his character traits and fulfilling his ideals.
The Semel - Our Emblem
The semel is the emblem of Bnei Akiva, and is made up of the following components:
Wheat - symbolizing the seven species of the Land of Israel, and representing the agricultural heritage of Bnei Akiva.
Olive branch - representing the peace that we hope all Jews will live together by.
Scythe & fork - representing the tools used to work the Land of Israel.
The Luchot - representing the Torah, the framework by which we live our lives.
The Hebrew letters ת (tav) and ע (ayin) stand for Torah Va’Avodah, Bnei Akiva’s motto.
Yad Achim - Our Anthem
Yad Achim is the movement’s anthem, composed by Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriyah during Chol Hamoed Succot 5692 (1932) at a gathering of madrichim in Kfar Saba.
The anthem soon spread to become one of the movement’s symbols, and was recognised as the official movement song at the inaugural World Veida in 1954.
Although the words have changed somewhat, and in the beginning of the 1950s the tune was also changed, no-one can imagine a movement occasion without the singing of the anthem. Yad Achim is sung alongside Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, during Mifkad, the official ceremony held at every Bnei Akiva event.