Who is this program for?
The Yahel Social Change Fellowship invites adults between the ages of 22 and 28 who are interested in social change, activism and grassroots organizing and who want to learn about these topics through hands-on service. As a fellow you will gain direct experience working in the non-profit and social sectors, you will explore Israel through the lens of social change and you will gain valuable skills for your future career. The fellowship is appropriate for people looking to continue academic studies or future careers in the fields of social work, public policy, public health, education or related fields, for people who want to delve deeper into understanding Israel and for people who care about being a Mensch.
Do I need to be Jewish to join the fellowship?
The Yahel Social Change Fellowship is open to non-Jewish participants, and in fact we encourage those outside of the Jewish community to apply. It is important to note that the content and curriculum have a Jewish lens. Additionally, as a non-Jewish fellow you will unfortunately not be eligible for a Masa grant and will have to cover the additional fees on your own or with scholarship money found elsewhere. Full financial details are available here.
What will the schedule be like?
The Israeli work week runs from Sunday to Thursday. As a fellow you will volunteer 30 hours each week in 3-5 different placements and have opportunities to take initiative around community projects. Thursdays will be dedicated to learning, alternating between city-based learning and supervision and full seminar days shared by all all 3 cohorts. See a sample itinerary
What is included in the program fee?
As a Yahel fellow you will receive:
The fee does not include your flight to Israel, travel on free weekends and personal expenses.
Housing in fully furnished apartments
A living stipend
Hebrew and Arabic courses
Day trips and seminars
Travel to and from volunteer placements
What will the accommodations be like?
Yahel Fellows live together in fully furnished apartments. The apartments have a full kitchen, dining room, living room, washing machine, wi-fi, air conditioners, fans and heaters. You should be prepared to share a bedroom.
What about weekends?
Most weekends on the program are free. Fellows are welcome to stay in their cities or travel. There are a few programmed weekends throughout the year - either in the community or as part of overnight seminars to different parts of the country.
Will I be able to observe Shabbat and Jewish holidays?
Yes. There are no mandatory activities planned for Shabbat or Jewish holidays.
I do not speak Hebrew. How will I be able to volunteer effectively?
As a fellow you will receive Hebrew training during orientation and in subsequent weeks run by professional teachers through A Home for Hebrew. A high level of Hebrew will not be necessary for most projects. Creativity and a sense of humor will.
What skills are needed for this program?
Most volunteer projects will not require special skills. Experience in youth work, social work, resource development, media, organic gardening, music and computers are welcome. Having an open mind is crucial.
What is the learning component of the fellowship?
The learning curriculum is an integral part of the fellowship. Throughout the nine months you will participate in training, enrichment and reflection sessions as well as many day trips and seminars. The learning curriculum is facilitated by outside speakers, Yahel staff and Yahel Fellows and is comprised of nine mini-courses:
1. Contextual Learning – A course exploring the context of volunteering and social change work. This includes a wide array of topics, such as: the communities in which we work; ethical questions about volunteering; space for group processing, reflection and discussion; project-based planning and preparation; volunteer placement supervision; and more.
2. Ulpan – A series of Hebrew language learning and enrichment sessions led by Maayan Sharet from A Home for Hebrew.
3. Pedagogical Training for EFL Teaching – An introduction to teaching English in the Israeli education system that includes theoretical learning and hands-on practical workshops.
4. Nonviolent Communication – A workshop providing framework and tools for using empathy and compassion in professional as well as everyday communication. Fellows are encouraged to practice the model and use it in their interactions at volunteer placements, in the community and with one another.
5. Unlocking the Jewish Bookcase – An introduction to the rich Jewish tradition of Torah study, interpretation and oral law.
6. Skill Building for the Non-Profit World – Hands-on workshops that provide fellows with important background and skills for effective work in the non-profit sector.
7. Judaism and Social Justice – A course dedicated to exploring the connection between Jewish texts, Jewish peoplehood and Jewish values to social justice.
8. Arabic – An opportunity for volunteers to develop conversational skills.
9. Visions – A course highlighting the visions for the future of Israel held by communities, leaders, activists, and educators. Through this course, fellows will also engage in peer-led learning on a range of topics related to Israeli society.
What is Masa?
Masa Israel’s grants and scholarships are a gift of the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency for Israel, made possible through the generous contributions of the Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod-UIA. Masa provides every eligible participant a grant towards participating in a program in Israel.
The Masa grant is paid directly to Yahel after confirmation of your acceptance to the program. Masa grants vary based on your country of origin. For further information on how to apply for your Masa grant,
Participants on Masa Israel-recognized programs of any length who fit the eligibility requirements listed above can apply for additional need-based financial aid depending on their country of origin and income. For further information,
What will my living stipend be?
Living stipends depend on the Masa grant you will receive which differs from country to country.
Most fellows will receive a monthly living stipend of 1,000 shekels. Fellows from certain countries may receive a monthly stipend of up to 2,500 shekels.
Where is the fellowship located?
The fellowship takes place in three cities in Israel: In Rishon LeZion, Lod and Haifa.