5 MONTH PROGRAM

ISRAEL BY CHOICE

During the first five months of the program (February to June) there are four different phases. Participants are offered four tracks (Volunteering, Israel Advocacy, Midrasha/Yeshiva, Hadracha) to choose from. These options denote where the participant will go in their option time during the week. All participants on the program live together during this time regardless of their track choice. All participants will get the opportunity to volunteer regardless of their track choice.

The first phase of this block is spent in Jerusalem, the second phase in Tel Aviv for a month, the third phase in Eilat and the final phase, before the closing week of the program is spent volunteering with refugees in Greece. Fot the entirety of the program, participants are encouraged to lead an independent lifestyle. They live in apartments and are required to shop, cook, clean and budget for themselves.

The group lives together and also participates in many group activities/trips/learning seminars/free weekends and more during this period.

The four track options that the participants have to choose from include:

Volunteering Format:

Jerusalem

  • 10-20 morning sessions (depends if taking another track) during the 6 volunteering weeks in Jerusalem.
  • Mondays through Thursdays between 9:00 - 13:00.
  • Volunteering options in Jerusalem include: working with children (in a kindergarten setting, or those suffering from serious illnesses or disabilities) retirement homes, adults with mental disabilities, soup kitchens, gardening etc.

Tel Aviv and Eilat:

  • 8-10 days of group volunteering on several different projects (including teaching Hebrew, painting homes, soup kitchens etc.).
  • Mondays through Thursdays between 9:00 - 13:00.

Jewish Identity Track- Midrasha/Yeshiva

Purpose:

Our purpose is to strengthen the participants connection to Judaism and create a deep personal understanding of what it means to be a Jew and how the Jewish philosophy and traditions can be relevant in modern life and Western society. Participants engage in ongoing conversation and discussion regarding their Jewish identities and relevant modern day questions and dilemmas. This track will be operated in partnership with well-established and highly-esteemed Yeshivot and Midrashot.

Goals:

  • Studying - have the participants engage and analyse Jewish texts and understand the meaning behind such texts.
  • Group discussions - discussing Jewish philosophy and the relevance of Jewish studies in our lives.
  • Judaism in Israel - understanding and engaging with different ways of studying Judaism in Israel.

Format:

  • Jerusalem - 10/12 morning sessions during the 6 volunteering weeks in Jerusalem
  • Every Wednesday and Thursday between 9:00-13:00.

Israel Advocacy Track

Purpose:

Our purpose is to educate IBC participants about the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the complicated political issues in the Middle East, in order to create the next generation of young ambassadors for Israel. This track is operated in partnership with “Stand With Us” – an international organization dedicated to education about Israel and correcting the misinformation that often surrounds the Middle East conflict.

Goals:

  • Studying - the participants will meet with key figures in the political and diplomatic world in order to learn about the different aspects of the conflict.
  • Developing personal skills - learning to debate, blog and stand in front of a camera in order to be able to use the knowledge in a productive way.
  • Touring Israel to extend knowledge - participants will visit some of the places they studied about - West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem, Security fence etc.

Format:

  • Jerusalem - 10/12 morning sessions during the 6 volunteering weeks in Jerusalem
  • Wednesday and Thursday between 9:00-13:00.

Hineni Hadracha Track

Purpose:

Our purpose is to better skill the IBC participants in leadership and program running. In partnering with Hineni Youth Movement on this track, we look to instill strong belief and values in the power of leadership and madrich/a.
Participants engage in workshops, learning, program running and relationship building.

Goals:

 

  • Confidence Building - A vital element of being a madrich/a is displayuing confidence. Programming working on bringing out self-confidence will shape the start of this track.
  • Writing and Running Programs - Participants will be upskilled in effectively writing programs and learn and practice the proper execution of these programs.
  • Building Knowledge – values from Judaism and lessons from Zionist leaders will play a role in shaping many of the programs that participants run in the future. Gaining knowledge and inspiration from these are vital to the education of a madrich/a.
  • For participants taking on this track to deeply connect and identify with the Hineni ideology and framework.

Format:

  • Jerusalem - 10/12 morning sessions during the 6 volunteering weeks in Jerusalem
  • Monday and Tuesday between 9:00-13:00

Greece

Purpose:

On IBC we work to push our participants to work on themselves and their abilities. Contributing and helping others in need becomes part of our DNA on the program and we will be working with Israeli Government agencies at their facilities on Samos Island, Greece. These asylum seeker and refugee camps serve as an interim/transit location for many people. The skills that we will have gained in the first few months of the program will be put to the test and extended in volunteering and working with people from these camps. 

Structure:
3 week trip. 2 weeks volunteering and 1 week travelling and touring through Greece and Jewish Salonika.

*Our Greece trip is dependent on COVID-19 and any restrictions that may be imposed. The decision to go will be based on a variety of factors and will be communicated by the program director.

Hikes

Hikes are an incredible opportunity to see the country and explore the nature and enviornment which Israel is famous for. We use professional guides and follow some of the most beautiful trails including trails in the desert, Golan Heights, surrounding Jerusalem and more. Hikes are also a great means for relationship building and bonding with our peers.

  • Some notable hikes include:
    – Yam le Yam (Sea to Sea – from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Gallilee)
    – Parts of Shvil Yisrael
    – Northern hikes including hikes through water and forrests.
    – Ein Gedi

Chagim (Jewish Holidays and Festivals)

Over the course of the year, and while participants are living according to the beat of the Jewish drum in Israel, they are exposed to and are fortunate enough to engage with all the chagim in a rich and meaningful sense.

We have chofesh (break) over Pesach and Succot. However, Purim, Shavuot, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are all part of the program and explored and experienced amongst the group and with strong guidance from staff and external providers.

Israeli holidays are also within our programming and not only will participants celebrate or commemorate, they will be active in learning why they are taking part in and organising programming for these special days.

Poland

Participants are given the option to take part in a five-day trip
to Poland. This trip is a meaningful and powerful experience allows
participants to view their Jewish identity and heritage from a different
perspective. The trip includes aspects that may be particularly
meaningful to individual participants. The trip is always extremely
significant and is often crafted around participants’ family histories and
testimonies. It is important to note that this Poland trip is different
from March of the Living (MOTL), and so should not be disregarded if
participants have previously participated on MOTL. Prior to the Poland
trip, the entire group is involved in a Poland preparation seminar,
regardless of whether or not they are going to Poland.

This optional trip involves an additional cost of approximately USD $1950, including flights. Payment is separate to the general program payment and must be secured early in the year (exact date to be confirmed). If a participant is to drop out of the Poland option, a refund will be given if no payment has been made to the travel agent.

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