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Dear friends of Yahel,
As we are sending out this Yahel newsletter, the final results of the Israeli elections are not yet in. These are our fifth elections since 2019 and it is troubling to see the rise in extremism and the discouraging polarization in Israel. From our work on the grassroots and municipals levels I see the need for political stability that will enable continuity  and financial clarity. The many partners we work with are all craving this stability and soon we will see which direction Israel will go in the near future.
And with all of this unclarity – what are we voting for? Here at Yahel we are voting for all the work that is being done bottom up. Be the results as they may be, our strongest belief is in change that will come locally and from the many change-makers we work with. I urge our Yahel community from around the world to stay focused on civil society in Israel even if the election results will be disappointing. I do believe that this is where eventually change will come from.
I hope you will enjoy reading the rest of this newsletter, full of wonderful stories & developments.
Dana Talmi
Executive Director
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With great enthusiasm and excitement, our
13th Yahel Social Change Fellowship cohort
has recently arrived in Lod, Rishon LeZion, and Haifa. 
This year we have 24 incredible fellows joining us from The United States, Canada, Turkey, India, Belgium, the Netherlands, and The United Kingdom. Our cohort is comprised of a passionate group with a multitude of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. Together, they've chosen to pick up their lives at home to embark on a 9-month journey in learning firsthand about Israel through the lens of social change. 
Our fellows are wrapping up their first month of orientation, where they have begun learning from prominent Israeli activists and speakers about key issues relevant to their service, starting their Ulpan (Hebrew language training) with our wonderful Ulpan teacher, Maayan Sharet, and have begun introductions to volunteer placements. 
They've already begun teaching English in local schools, continuing our Library on Wheels project, and immersing themselves in their new communities.
We wish our fellows, staff, and community partners tremendous luck for this upcoming year! Together we will collaborate on meaningful service and learning towards sustainable change.

Meet our 2022-2023
FEllowship staff
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Yarden, Shoshana, Racheli, and Alona have been working tirelessly these past couple of months to prepare for the arrival of our 13th cohort. Their enthusiasm is imperative in shaping this program into what it is and what it will be this year. 
Let's welcome our
Newest board members
We are pleased to announce the appointment of 2 new members to our Board: Samantha Sisisky and Lior Benisti.
Both Samantha and Lior bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to strengthen our organization in strategy, goal setting, and overseeing programs. Their unique backgrounds and expertise will make a great asset to the Yahel Board and our organization in furthering our mission.
The work that we do would be impossible without the valuable advice, assistance, and dedication from our entire board. Our board members' commitment to our organization is what enables us to carry out our mission. Thank you for all that you do and for all of the hours that you give to help us reach our goals. We are indebted to you for your contributions.

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We are excited to set VOICES into motion—a special project designed to illuminate the work of change-makers at the grassroots level in Israel, and display it to the broader Yahel Community as part of the Yahel Annual Fundraising campaign which will launch in mid November.
VOICES is a Yahel effort to illuminate the work of social change leaders and activists and to help spread the word both in and outside Israel. Over the summer, the Yahel team is meeting with activists across the country to hear the stories behind their work and document their narratives. Stay tuned for the full project in November!
Learn firsthand about individuals from all backgrounds who envision a different and better future for their communities and for Israel at large. We will be sharing stories, images, videos, and quotes on all Yahel social media platforms. You don't want to miss this unique opportunity!
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This January 5th-31st, we are launching Yahel Service Corps – a program created in partnership with Onward Israel and Shalom Corps
for young adults to engage in sustainable volunteering with Druze communities in the north of Israel. This immersive program will bring young adults ages 19-27 to Israel to work alongside our Druze partners, 
Ofakim L’Atid, on grassroots initiatives in 3 different Arab towns across Israel.Yahel Israel Service Corps is a unique opportunity to get to know the Druze community, learn and practice Arabic, gain experience working with children and learn about community based social change work in Israel.
What’s included in the program?
  • Food & housing in the Karmiel area
  • Health insurance
  • Ground transportation and program costs
  • Educational tours and learning experiences
Who should apply?
  • 19-27 year olds (or at least one full year post-high school at the start of the program) who have NOT spent 3 or more months in Israel as part of an educational or peer-program (this included semester abroad, gap year or any other MASA or Onward Israel program)
  • Must be fluent in English
  • Young adults with an interest in working with children and youth
Do you have a potential Service Corps participant in mind? Connect them with our Recruitment Coordinator, Bridget (, for a personal informational call about the program. Or send them directly to the program page!
Meet Ethan!
Name: Ethan Harris Riggs
Hometown: Ethan was born in Brooklyn, raised in Illinois, and is based in Los Angeles. 
Yahel City: Lod
What brought you to Yahel? 
I am a religious school teacher at a synagogue in Los Angeles called IKAR. Our congregation frequently discusses the state of affairs in Israel/Palestine. We also pray for Israel in our services. After some time teaching, I began feeling conflicted; How am I to praise a place and simultaneously be critical of it? To gain clarity, I felt obligated to go and understand for myself. I had a conversation with Dana, the director of Yahel, who mentioned, “If you love a place, you will criticize it”. After only a month, I honestly cannot say that I love Israel. However, I am loving the experience of learning and being of service here. I look forward to returning to my students with a deepened understanding of the cultures, religions, and people who inhabit this land.
What is something new that you learned about your city in the short time that you've been here? 
I’m living in Lod/Lydda for the next eight months… It’s truly an incomparable climate from where I’ve lived in America, both socially and geopolitically.  I’ve found that it takes time and compassion for people to be able to know and trust an outsider, such as myself. The customs of Lod’s population are very traditional, whereas I am a fairly subversive person in relationship to my culture. However, over time my students and neighbors have begun to understand my intentions through seeing and experiencing the progress that the fellowship is making in terms of developing the welfare of the socio-economic landscape. The lessons I’m learning regarding the relationship between being trustworthy and working hard is a lesson I’ll carry throughout my life.
Who is an inspiring social change role model for you?
As of now, the people I’m working with in the fellowship have inspired me the most. We all come from various backgrounds, and yet have the capacity to see each other wholesomely and without reductive judgement. This feels like we’ve created some sort of ethos as a foundation to be able to go out into foreign land and be of service… Some of us are fairly more religious or politically motivated than others. Some are more interested in connecting to the land. Some are here purely with the motive of bringing joy to the community. We see each other’s intentions and the various ways each of us move and it actually inspires us to work in tandem with one another. It’s as though we share the same vocation and are just approaching it from different angles.

Follow Along on Instagram!

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