Yahel is pleased to partner with Hillels, offering an alternative break program that connects participants to Israel through social change. Yahel sees great importance in working closely with Hillels to design and implement all components of the program and is committed to creating an experience that is relevant to each individual school.
Our trips are centered on collaborative partnerships with Israeli communities. Currently, Yahel’s strongest partnership is with Friends by Nature, a local grassroots NGO working in the Ethiopian community in the fields of community empowerment and education. Based on specific school interests, partnerships can also include working with other populations in Israel such as Bedouin communities in the Negev and Arab-Israeli communities in the Galilee.
Our program has four main components:
Service projects sit at the core of our trips. Participants engage in daily service work in the community including working in community garden projects, urban renewal work and youth programming.
Past service projects include:
Working alongside local residents in agricultural and community gardens
Volunteering in the community youth center with their Israeli peers and youth counselors
Painting the homes of elderly Ethiopian Israeli residents
Renewal work in a local Ethiopian synagogue
Participants reside in home-stays or close by to the community in which they are volunteering. Programming, volunteering and cultural exchanges are organized together with community members from the neighborhood.
"They [the community] were the best hosts I've ever stayed with and gave off the impression that right away we could consider ourselves at home. They were surpassingly respectful to our needs and devoted to ensuring our comfort. The love we felt from our hosts, the Gar'in, and even the neighborhood kids was easily the best aspect of our immersion into the community." - AB Program Participant
Daily learning sessions form an integral part of the trip and delve into many critical topics, including:
Cross cultural training: an introduction to the rich and fascinating culture of host communities and a chance to hear first-hand stories of the Ethiopian journey to Israel
Issue-based learning: delving into the social complexities of Israeli society by exploring issues within marginalized Israeli communities
Social activism: meeting with inspiring Israeli social change activists and organizations and hearing how they are approaching some of the social issues in Israel
Highly professional and trained staff collaborate with Hillel staff to facilitate this learning in addition to meetings with community members and activists.
Day tours and meetings with Israeli social change makers and entrepreneurs allow the group to engage with various issues related to social justice in Israel. These tours also allow participants to see and experience communities and organizations in Israel that they may not have been exposed to previously.
Past tours include:
Meeting with a lawyer from Tebeka, an Ethiopian Israeli legal advocacy organization
Tour with Bustan, a non-profit organization working in the Bedouin community in the South on issues of sustainability and capacity building
Visit to Jerusalem with Ethiopian host families and community members, exploring the city through the lens of Ethiopian Jewry
“I am walking away with a closer connection to the Ethiopian Jewish community, a closer relationship to Israel, and inspiration to continue working toward social justice.” -Program Participant