The Boston Onward Israel Service Learning Program is a 6-week hands-on Jewish service learning program for New England-area college students.
Gain hands-on experience and build your resume in the non-profit sector by working with at-risk populations on this 6-week program in Haifa. Through direct service opportunities, you will meet real community needs and contribute to a Haifa neighborhood by volunteering alongside local Israeli activists. While experiencing the unique character of this multi-cultural society and engaging with Israel through the lens of social change, your service work will be complemented by intense learning. This learning will challenge you to think about the relationship between Judaism, social change, and what actions you can take to improve your local Jewish community upon returning to the Boston area.
"My trip with Yahel changed my life in the best way possible by expanding my perspective on volunteering, deepening my relationship with Israel and her citizens and allowing me to gain hands-on, meaningful experiences with inspiring social change organizations."
- Yahel Social Change Program participant
About 25 hours a week will be dedicated to service, mostly in the Hadar neighborhood. The Hadar neighborhood, once the commercial center of Haifa, is one of the most interesting and diverse neighborhoods in the city. Residents of the neighborhood include immigrants from the FSU, Haredi community, Arab Israelis and more. Service projects will focus on work with at-risk youth and community renewal projects.
A few examples of work projects include:
- Volunteer in the Hadar Youth Center with at-risk youth
- Assist with local summer camps and special summer activities run by the Hadar Community Center
- Work together with local residents in the community gardens
The learning component will include contextual learning (about Haifa, the different populations in the city, community organizing efforts in the neighborhood and more), ethical discussions using Jewish texts, engaging with Israel through the lens of social change, leadership development and group work.
A core piece of our program is collaboration with our Israeli partners. The Hadar neighborhood is home to several intentional communities, including (1) the Haifa student village, (2) Kehilat Hadarim (former students involved in the student center), (3) the Educator’s Kibbutz of the Dror Israel movement and more.
Yahel participants will partner with members of these groups, collaborating with young Israelis who have chosen to be civically engaged and improve the situation in Hadar. This partnership provides a unique and dynamic platform for participants to be immersed and build relationships with the local community and its members.
Extensive travel will include an in-depth exploration of Haifa and its surrounding area as well as day and weekend trips around the country. These trips combine hiking and fun together with meetings that allow participants to experience Israel through the lens of social change.
Walk away from this trip with:
An understanding of multiculturalism and diversity in Israel
An understanding of community organizing work
Connections to individuals in Israel that are involved in social and environmental change efforts
A deeper relationship with Israel based on understanding its complexities
Inspiration to be an active change maker
Costs & Accommodations
6-week Program Cost:
$220 per participant (including full board, accommodations, insurance, transportation and all program expenses)
Cost does not include participant airfare.
Participants will be staying in 4-person furnished apartments in the Hadar neighborhood.
Meet Our US-based Staff
Matt is a Senior Campus Associate at CJP, Greater Boston's Jewish Federation. Matt has staffed 11 Birthright trips and has extensive background in Jewish education, Israel activism and community service. email@example.com / 617.457.8757
Rachel is the Digital Media and Recruitment Associate for Yahel Israel Service Learning. Rachel is an alumna of Yahel's long-term Israel program, the Yahel Social Change Program, and currently lives in Washington DC. firstname.lastname@example.org / 202.630.6686
About Onward Israel
Onward Israel offers exciting resume building opportunities - internships, service learning, academic study and fellowships - providing a global, cross-cultural experience in Israel and direct contact with Israeli peers. Participants in each program come from the same community or organization - creating an opportunity to build local networks and carry on connections after the program.
Onward Israel is powered by the Jewish Agency and participating local Jewish federations and organizations.
Repair the World, the national service arm of the American Jewish community, is pleased to serve as a strategic partner for this program. For more information about Repair the World, please visit weRepair.org.
For over 80 years, the Jewish Agency has served as the link between the Jewish people and Israel, working to ensure the future of a connected, committed, global Jewish People with a strong Israel at its center. Today, the Jewish Agency is redirecting its primary focus toward the greatest challenge we currently face as a people – strengthening the Jewish identity of young Jews in both the Diaspora and Israel. Our mission is to inspire Jews throughout the world to connect with their people, heritage, and land, and to empower them to build a thriving Jewish future and a strong Israel.
CJP, Greater Boston’s Jewish Federation, brings together the people, partners and resources to fulfill the most important needs and aspirations of our community. Rooted in compassion and justice and driven by innovation, we care for the vulnerable, forge strong connections with Israel, and above all, inspire the next generation to embrace Jewish life and learning.
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