We are so excited to share with you the highlights of our biggest summer yet! The last couple of years have definitely been challenging and it is tremendously rewarding to be able to return to full capacity and even see our programming grow! I hope you will enjoy the stories and pictures from our summer as well as other updates in this newsletter.
We are starting our Bar Mitzvah year this fall with the 13th cohort of our Yahel Social Change Fellowship. Here too I am happy to share that we have had significant growth in interest and applications for our Fellowship and are all looking forward to meeting these young Menches who are coming to do good for 9 months.
Beyond the numbers and growth, for me personally what has been most moving this summer was to see the deep partnerships we have and are creating. Our close collaboration with the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies & the Berkeley Study abroad office, our continued collaboration with the Rutgers School of Social Work and Onward Israel, our new joint work with Ramah Israel Seminar, our strong partnership with Masa Israel, new and significant developments in Haifa and the continued strong ties we have with municipalities, nonprofits, schools, community centers and many more partners around the county - these partnerships really flourished this summer and it was a joy to work with old and new friends. These partnerships are the only way in which we are able to do impactful work in Israel whether it be assisting refugees and asylum seekers, working with youth at risk, supporting dozens of grassroots nonprofits, teaching English, working with the elderly and the list goes on!
As our summer is starting to wind down, I want to take the opportunity and thank the Yahel team for their tremendous work this year and this summer! What an honor it is to see our team grow and create such meaningful experiences together.
With wishes for a cool rest of the summer,
Earlier this month we attended Masa Israels' Organizer Conference in Tel Aviv and we were surprised to discover that we were awarded Masa’s Outstanding Organizers Award! This award acknowledged Yahel's accomplishments this past year in the realms of education & outreach. We wouldn't have received this recognition without our incredible team & partners, and we are incredibly grateful to Masa for this honor and our strong collaboration!
Rebecca joined the Yahel team in the spring as our incoming Director of Short Programs and Operations. Rebecca brings with her many years of experience working to connect international and Israeli audiences to Israel and the narratives of its many communities, particularly sharing the story of the Ethiopian-Israeli community - to which she proudly belongs.
Moreover, Rebecca brings expertise in managing large-scale operations from her previous role working with high school seniors in the city of Tirat Carmel outside Haifa, to prepare them for meaningful national and army service.
We wish Rebecca the best of luck and look forward to working together to grow our short-term programs into a robust series of meaningful and impactful service opportunities for teens and college students visiting Israel!
This summer, we are hosting our largest number of participants to date in a range of programs and opportunities. We are excited to continue successful collaborations with theRutgers School of Social WorkandOnward Israel, and to launch new programs in collaboration with theHelen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies & the Berkeley Study abroad office at UC BerkeleyandCamp Ramah Israel Seminar!Through these opportunities, hundreds of teens and young adults are learning about and supporting the work of dozens of grassroots organizations and social change initiatives in Rishon Lezion, Haifa, Lod, Beit Shemesh, South Tel Aviv, Shfar’am, Hurfeish, Rameh, and Gaash. We are thrilled to continue to realize Yahel’s mission to train, support, and inspire individuals and organizations to take part in responsible and sustainable volunteering in Israel alongside local community members.
UC Berkeley students enjoying a weekend up north, learning about intentional community living and the beginning of social ideas with Zohar Avigdori in northern Israel. Berkeley students are living in Haifa and volunteering in public-sector internships and learning about social challenges and social change efforts in Israel while also taking an onsite course on Law and Social Change in Israel.
Rutgers School of Social Work participants spent their summer in the Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood of Rishon LeZion! Receiving academic credit, social work students gained hands-on experience through supervised placements such as working with the elderly in support groups, special-needs schools, and a program for adults with mental and physical disabilities. Pictured right are Rutgers social work students in Jerusalem for a tour of the geopolitics and complexities of Jerusalem.
Onward Israel Social Justice and Community Service Yahel program visitingKuchinatein South Tel Aviv. Our Onward Israel participants have been living in Haifa all summer volunteering in a multitude of placements from community centers, to the Haifa municipality, and Haifa non-profits like Alef- a civil society initiative working with the African refugee communities of northern Israel.
Camp Ramah teens volunteering in a beach cleanup withEco-Ocean as part of a service day on Environmental Activism, and packaging groceries for distribution withLatetas part of a service day on Food Security.
Lailah volunteers at the Beit Charna in Kiriyat Haim in Haifa, a youth center that serves mostly youth from the Russian-speaking and Ethiopian communities.
"I’ve observed and participated in the inclusion efforts at Beit Charna Youth Center to include youth of all ages in a range of activities including sports, games, dancing, discussions, and music. There is a youth leadership program at the center, where older kids volunteer at the Youth Center and help lead the younger kids.
Beit Charna also has a recording studio and practice rooms for kids to come together and make music. Youth from all over Kiryat Haim, are included together in the making of music and contributing to musical endeavors. Beit Charna has already taught me so much about the teaching and sharing of language and culture through songs, dances, musical instruments, and genres of music, such as Mizrahi music, representing both Western and Eastern backgrounds, and singing in Arabic, Hebrew, and English.
Music at the Youth Center offers kids the opportunity to make connections with each other, their cultural backgrounds, and their community. The kids at the Youth Center have been preparing for the summer show for over a month, and in this way, creating something that everyone in their community can participate in, through performing, listening, appreciating, and thus promoting harmony via music.“I am so lucky to have been placed at Beit Charna because the youth center truly has the most incredible energy. Everyone there is so friendly and welcoming that I felt immediately at home even after my first day there.
My favorite moments at Beit Charna have been sharing music with the kids by learning their favorite songs on the ukulele and guitar and working with the kids at music band rehearsals. I am so excited to help Beit Charna start the Youth Center garden with everyone else on the Onward Yahel program!"
Yahel Social Change Fellowship 2022-2023 Cohort
We're gearing up for the arrival of our 2022-2023 fellowship cohort, and like every year, our incoming cohort consists of young adults from diverse nationalities, religions, religiosities, and identities. This year's cohort consists of fellows from The United States, Canada, UK, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Turkey, and India. We have a lot to prepare for before they arrive, but we can't wait to introduce you to them soon!
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