Updated: Jun 23, 2021
World Bnei Akiva has been changing the face of the Jewish youth movement for years, fostering the inner voice of Zionism and Jewish pride in the hearts of passionate children and teenagers all around the world.
Both within Israel and in Jewish communities across the globe, World Bnei Akiva has succeeded in sharing a love of our heritage and instilling a commitment to our nation- and the Land of Israel is a huge part of that.
Part of World Bnei Akiva’s vision is in creating an authentic Israel experience for its participants. Israel should be lived, not only dreamed of, and many of their programs create the opportunity for just this.
As one of its many activities, World Bnei Akiva offers a range of gap year programs to post-high school graduates. Known broadly as “hahshara”, meaning “preparation”, these programs inspire and empower young Jews with a sense of commitment to the Jewish people, to the Torah, and the opportunity to engage with the real and authentic Israel. While many religious young adults choose to spend their year in an immersive yeshiva or seminary program for Torah study, others are seeking different types of Israel experiences, yet desire a religious Zionist environment. In addition to the classic full-time learning programs, World Bnei Akiva has created dynamic and active programs with various themes, while maintaining its strong framework of core religious Zionist values.
For those wanting to experience it all-the land, the culture, the history, and people- there is a program for you! For those wanting to not only witness but be an active part of Israeli and Jewish history, read on!
Dive right into Israeli culture, language, and lifestyle in this intensive and immersive co-ed, six-month program in conjunction with Kol Ami. Live on an Israeli kibbutz with Israeli peers as you enter into the world of Torah, develop leadership skills, and experience the classic pre-army training that many young Israelis go through before they enter the Israeli army. Whether you intend on continuing on to enlist in the IDF or return back to your community, you will leave a proud Jewish leader!
“Both of my parents are Israeli, which meant that when the time came, I always knew I would eventually draft to the IDF even though I was raised in America. I came to Mechina because I wanted a stepping stone into Israeli society and wanted a foundation that would help me with everything that I need to know about joining the IDF. Mechina overall has been an experience of a lifetime, one where I have made friends from all of the world, and has prepared me for my future in the army.” – Liam Abucasis, LA, USA
Israel has so many wonderful things to experience. From tasting that wholesome kibbutz life to diving into IDF army training, all the way to being a part of Israel’s innovative and upcoming role in the hi-tech and professional industries, there is so much to do! In this co-ed, 9-month program with participants from around the world, have the opportunity to do it all-volunteer, learn, intern, and train with the IDF. Take in all of Israel together with Bnei Akiva in this all-inclusive, real-life experience of Israel!
“Kivun is my first involvement with BA. I always had the impression that it was too “religious” and that the people involved ‘accepted one way or no way’. But through being on Kivun, I have found that people from all kinds of religious backgrounds are involved, but with a shared goal to grow spiritually and become better versions of ourselves. Kivun has most definitely helped that!” – Louis Deacon, London, UK
In this new and up-and-coming program for post-high school girls, come to Israel as a national service volunteer and take part in the Israeli experience of Sherut Leumi. With the help of Bnei Akiva, you can take part in Israeli society without the hassle of Israeli bureaucracy, and surrounded by like-minded young women! While during the week you may be volunteering in a hospital or a special needs day center for children, the nights and weekends come with Torah learning, social events, and exciting programming! Giving back to Israel as a foreigner no longer needs to be lonely or challenging. While non-Israeli young women have been serving in national service for years, the process was not always that easy, which is why Bnei Akiva is committed to making it work.
Talia Schwartz, the program’s director, went through national service herself years ago, and wishes she had a program like this back then!
“As someone who visited Israel throughout my childhood, I cultivated a true relationship with the country, and wanted to give back and volunteer when I reached 18, the way all boys and girls do in Israel. I did sherut leumi in a special needs kindergarten, and was able to learn about Israeli society and culture through total immersion. Experiencing Israel as a part of society and not a tourist gave me a whole new outlook at the amazing country that I now call home. Sherut leumi is a life-changing and character developing experience, and everyone should have the opportunity to give back!
With Shalem, you can give back to Israel as an “Israeli” while also experiencing the perks and excitement of a gap-year experience!” – Talia Schwartz, Director of Shalem, Toronto, now living in Jerusalem
World Bnei Akiva has allowed and supported young adults everywhere to leave their mark on the land, the country, and the nation of Israel.
Even during the twists and turns of a global pandemic, World Bnei Akiva has shown its commitment to spreading Israel with those searching to experience its magic!