MASA Year of Service
Aardvark Israel and the Israel Volunteer Association (IVA) have combined to give Diaspora Jewish youth the opportunity to do “Sherut Leumit” – a year of National Service in Israel.
Sherut Leumi is a program of social service, which gives young people the opportunity to work voluntarily in the sectors of society that need it the most. The participants will be able to choose their volunteering program within the areas of health, education, welfare and co-existence.
Mission and Goals of the Program:
Through the Pioneer Israel Gap Year Program participants will strive to achieve the following goals:
- Strengthen their Jewish Identity and Connection to Israel
- Enhance their understanding of Jewish Peoplehood and our collective history
- Deeply explore the concept of responsibility – for each other, for our land, and for our nation
- Contribute to Israeli society
Duration of program
10 months – February to November (Australia/ South Africa)
September to June (USA)
Haifa – Haifa is Israel’s third largest city, beautifully set on the slopes of Mount Carmel facing the Mediterranean Sea, likened by some as ‘Israel’s San Francisco’. Although traditionally a working city, there is so much more to Haifa than the Bahai Gardens and German Colony, which is all most tourists ever get to see. The city is known across Israel for its mixed population of Jews and Arabs who peacefully coexist and the result is some amazing fusions of Arabic and Jewish cultures across the city. With beautiful beaches and an exciting nightlife, students will love living in such an exciting, modern and diverse city.
Key Components of the program
Students will volunteer for 8 hours and day, 4 days a week in a place of their choice. Volunteering will include working in hospitals, schools, kindergartens and NGO’s. Placements will provide relevant “on the job” training in those fields and then students will be given tasks and responsibilities as they become a valuable member of the team. The more students prove themselves, the more responsibility they will get. Students will work side by side with Israelis from diverse background, thus being immersed in Israel society, meeting different types of Israel and improving their Hebrew.
Learning – Ulpan, Field trips and educational Seminars
One day a week, students will have educational and enrichment activities. These will include ulpan, so students can improve their Hebrew, educational seminars focusing on Judaism and Zionism and field trips to explore Haifa and beyond.
Evenings and Weekends
A couple of times a week, evening activities will provide participants with both social and educational opportunities to further enhance their experience. Activities will include sports, social and cultural events and activities, guest speakers, and group dynamics and leadership development.
Weekends are free for the students to travel around Israel, visit friends and family and/ or just have a relaxing weekend in their own apartment.
Housing and Accommodations
Living in Haifa, participants will be able to take full advantage of the cultural enrichment, night life, and convenience of the one of the most popular cities in Israel for today’s young adults. Participants will be immersed into Israeli society, meeting their Israeli neighbors, shopping for groceries in the local shops, and navigating on public transportation giving them the chance to truly “live like a local.”
Participants will receive a monthly local bus pass enabling them to get to and from their placement, plus attend classes field trips, and explore the city.
Apartments are shared only by participants in the program. All the apartments are fully furnished and equipped with kitchen appliances and utensils. Every apartment has WiFi. With the guidance of a qualified counselor, participants will learn to cook, clean, budget, do laundry, and live together with roommates. Participants will receive a stipend from the program for their weekly groceries and apartment needs.
Understanding that this will be the first time most are living on their own, staff will work with the participants in each apartment to ensure a positive group dynamic and the health and welfare of the participants. Throughout the year, the counselors hold weekly apartment meetings to facilitate and solve any issues which may arise, and also pay friendly visits to the apartments. As the year progresses, the participants will be encouraged to be more independent in their problem-solving in order to foster growth and maturity.
In order to accommodate all participants regardless of their religious affiliation, Shabbat will be observed in public spaces and students will have options for Kosher and Shomer Shabbat housing. During free time and outside of the program facilities, each participant is free to observe in his/her own way.
*THE COST OF THE PROGRAM VARIES ACCORDING TO THE “MASA” GRANT
Tuition for the Aardvark Pioneer Gap Year Programs includes program tuition, housing, meal stipend, medical insurance, fees for all enrichment programming, local transportation, and more.
Airfare to/from Israel and the cost of any entry visa, if required, is not included in the program tuition.