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Dear friends of Yahel,
The New Year is a wonderful time to reflect on new beginnings. In this newsletter we have decided to share our new beginnings in the Kiryat Haim neighborhood in Haifa. It is a wonderful case study of building responsible community based service programs over time, adjusting to changing needs and a deeper understanding of the city.
Haifa is not new to Yahel. For the past seven years we worked in Haifa through our summer programs for college students. In the fall of 2021 we launched the Haifa cohort of our Yahel Social Change Fellowship  - securing year-round presence in the city and deepening our partnerships and impact. We launched the fellowship cohort in the Hadar neighborhood - a vibrant neighborhood in the center of town. The first fellowship year in Haifa had its successes as well as challenges and one of the things we realized was that the Hadar neighborhood was saturated with volunteers and perhaps not the best location for us. In consultation with the Haifa municipality, and after extensive research, we decided to move our work to the neighborhood of Kiriyat Haim. We came to learn that as a neighborhood further away from the city center - Kiryat Haim is lacking resources, has very few volunteers present and has real needs that can be answered through our fellows. Throughout our initial visits we discovered a warm and welcoming community that was excited at the prospect of having Yahel fellows. From organizing welcome meals, to jointly building programming - we feel that we have found the place for our fellowship in Haifa! Our participants are still be able to continue volunteering with our longstanding Haifa partners, such as the Alef Center for asylum seekers, the Haifa Rape Crisis Center, Parents in the Center, Isha L’Isha, and others. But they live and integrate into the Kiriyat Haim community and have the opportunity to offer their skills and talents in projects there as well.
Over the last few months, our Haifa fellows have been received by their community with open arms as they’ve settled into their volunteer placements, met with local activists, and learned about the different populations in Haifa. This years Haifa cohort is continuing to build relationships with our local partners to support and initiate exciting projects in their neighborhood of Kiryat Haim. In this newsletter you can catch a glimpse of the way the program is developing in Kiryat Chaim. I invite you to keep reading about some of the experiences, connections and impact in Haifa and beyond.
Dana Talmi
Executive Director

Happenings in Haifa
Haifa fellow, Nathaniel Katz, teaches English to 9-11 year olds at Degania Elementary School. 
“I really enjoy working with the children – being with them and being in their classrooms. It’s really rewarding to see how they’re growing and learning with each lesson. Since I don’t speak fluent Hebrew, it has required me to think outside the box and find creative ways to teach students. The students are really eager to work with us, not just because we are foreigners and that’s new and exciting, but because we’re connecting and building relationships together. They enjoy learning with us, in part because of the effort we’ve put in and also because of the relationships we’ve developed over the past 2 months.”
Kiryat Haim has two community and several youth centers that are home to social activities, courses, and cultural activities. Beit Nagler is a Kiryat Haim community center that contains a sculpture room, library, lecture rooms, art rooms, and a cafe. Haifa fellows, Charly and Abigail, are placed at Beit Nagler, where they facilitate art sessions with the children.
“We've been starting our art workshops by going over a list of terms that we will be using during the workshop. This way, we could point at the translation when we needed to make the lesson more tangible and straightforward for the children. In our most recent workshop, Abigail and I demonstrated the craft before starting, and by the end, the students were able to do it all on their own. They figured out how to trust their own abilities and realized that their creativity had no bounds – all while practicing English along the way.”
Charly Jazbor
Haifa fellow
“The collaboration between Beit Nagler and Yahel Israel fellows began about a month ago with the establishment of an art and English workshop for the children of Kiryat Haim. Haifa fellows, Abigail and Charly spend time with the children every week, teaching lessons in English through art and crafts. The residents of Kiryat Haim have been welcoming of the initiative and hope for similar workshops to develop from this. My dream as the director of Beit Nagler is to create community meetings together with volunteers from Yahel and local residents to collaborate on ways to build and grow the connection of the community in Kiryat Haim.”
Director of Beit Nagler
Meet Talia!
Name: Talia Eiseman
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Yahel City: Haifa
What is something new that you learned about your city in the short time that you've been here? 
Although I am still getting to know the community of Kiryat Haim, there are definitely some strong characteristics that I have had the opportunity to experience. Before coming to Yahel, I did not know much about Haifa or Kiryat Haim, but the warm and welcoming nature of Israel that I have experienced remains true for our community. I have learned that Kiryat Haim is a place where people support each other, through neighboring schools and community centers. At school, I have witnessed a sense of community between the teachers and with the students, and we have felt instantly welcomed into that space. Walking around and seeing students wave excitedly towards us is always heartwarming, and many of the students are so happy to find out we live in their neighborhood. I have also learned more about the perception of Kiryat Haim in relation to Haifa, and the lower socioeconomic status of the west side of Kiryat Haim, where my placements are. We often work with kids in school who have little support at home and who just need to feel seen at school. It has been very fulfilling to be a person that these kids can talk to, and to uplift them through English help. What I continue to notice is how interested members of the community are in our lives, and experiences in Israel. We have been invited to celebrate holidays in our community, such as Sigd, and attend events and concerts. After three months, I now walk into spaces recognizing people and feeling comfortable as a member of the community.
Who is an inspiring social change role model for you?
My mom is an inspiring social change role model for me. Ever since I was young, she has always been very involved in volunteer work in the Jewish community of Milwaukee. No matter how busy she is with work, she always finds time to fight for what she believes in, whether it’s defending abortion rights at the National Council of Jewish Women, or acting as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, protecting abused and neglected children in Milwaukee County Children’s Court. My mom is not the kind of person who sits back and witnesses injustices, especially in her community. She uses her passion and determination to make changes, in policy and in people’s lives. I admire my moms loyalty to Milwaukee and our Jewish community, the place where she grew up and where she raised us. Her compassion for others shows through in her strong relationships with family and friends, and she is constantly inspiring those around her to get involved in social change. In the future, I hope to be like her, and always take time to advocate for what I am passionate about in my own community.
What are you doing at the Heine Community Center? Being that this is our first year partnering with them, in what ways have you noticed the relationship growing and how has it been settling in to that placement?
At Beit Heine, we teach English foundations to young children who haven’t started English in school, and a conversational English hour for adults. It has been very fulfilling to use my English skills to work and connect with those in our community. This placement has encouraged me to learn more about lesson plans and strategies for teaching young children, especially with a language barrier. It always feels so good to see the kids excited about learning English, shouting with joy at the letters they’re able to identify. In the adult class, it is so nice and comforting to sit and talk with members of the community while using English. Even from the first week, I could see the desire in these people to practice using their English and gain confidence. We teach them new vocabulary and topics to use, but the hour is mostly spent chatting and getting to know one another. It feels good to create a small community of diverse people within the community of Kiryat Haim, who are eager to learn english. Each week, I look forward to seeing familiar faces in our classes, and am grateful for how welcoming Beit Heine has been to us in Kiryat Haim. I know that through these classes, we are building strong connections in our city, that will be the foundation for long lasting relationships and an excitement for English speaking fellows that precede us.

Volunteers on the Yahel Social Change Fellowship live in 1 of 3 cities across Israel: Rishon LeZion, Haifa, and Lod. Each city has a lens through which we aim to understand the local dynamics, population and needs. The city lens serves as an educational anchor and influences some of the volunteer placements and learning sessions.
The lens of Haifa is Gender Equity. Haifa is the cradle of the Israeli women's movement and home to many feminist and gender focused organizations. Gender equity helps to shape and change the roles and expectations of men, women and all genders at work, home and in society.

What are our alumni Up to?
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Our alumni community hubs around the world are growing! We recently held a gathering with Berkeley area alumni where alumni from different Yahel programs across multiple years attended.
“I loved seeing such a breadth of people who were interested in social justice in Israel. Meeting the alumni and hearing about their perspectives and experiences in a place I love so much was great and filled me with hope,” said one Berkeley area alum. 
We have exciting plans to continue to grow our alumni relationships all over the world in 2023 through shared experiences and connections. For alumni information or inquiries, email Gabrielle Richards at

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Local organizations and activists are in need of passionate, hardworking young adults to support their community initiatives in the periphery of Israel.
Do you want to make a difference?
Applications for our 2023-2024 Yahel Social Change Fellowship and our short-term summer and academic programs are OPEN!
The Yahel Social Change Fellowship
The Yahel Social Change Fellowship is a 9-month service-learning program for college graduates ages 22-30 who are passionate about social change. The program places fellows at the forefront of social issues facing Israel and equips them with the tools to create real, lasting change.
September 20, 2023 – June 30, 2024
Berkeley Global Internship Program with the Helen Diller Institute and UC Berkeley Study Abroad
The Berkeley Global Internship Program is a joint partnership with UC Berkeley Study Abroad and the Hellen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel studies. Participants live and work in Haifa at nonprofits, public projects, and grassroots organizations in the fields of education, healthcare, women’s rights, immigration, and more. They also participate in an on-site course on Israeli society and politics and the minority experience, taught by Institute-affiliated professor Rami Zeedan. Students receive academic credit for their internship and their ten-week online course.
June 19, 2023 – August 11, 2023
Onward Israel Social Justice and Community Services Summer Program
The Social Justice and Community Services trip offers summer interns the chance to live, learn and engage with one of Israel’s most beautiful communities. The Haifa based internship program features day trips, overnights and hands-on seminars designed to bolster participants’ understanding of Israeli life.
June 14, 2023 – August 8, 2023
Rutgers - Israel Service Learning: Community Immersion, Social Action and Exploration of Diversity
This program is uniquely positioned to offer students an immersive, short-term-4 week, in-country service learning opportunity providing direct services to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities in addition to pre-departure and post-integration learning experiences.
July 4, 2023 – July 28, 2023

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