The IsraElite Leadership Program for Women’s (or women’s Mechina) was established in 2013 to empower young women from the margins of Israeli society with the tools necessary to attain leadership positions in Israel’s military service or in life. The intensive 10-month program brings young women from around Israel to the northern development town of Migdal Haemek, where they live, learn, and volunteer together.
The gap year leadership program for women is the only such program that is specifically designed for young women who are immigrants or children of immigrants, mainly from Ethiopia or the former Soviet Union. Participants struggle with questions of identity, economic distress and complex family situations. Most are unaware that their upcoming mandatory service can be a time to develop leadership skills and launch their futures as successful members of society.
Components of the Women’s Gap Year Leadership Program:
- Weekly volunteering in the local community, a focus on Tikkun Olam (social justice) and community involvement.
- Workshops on life skills and leadership development including financial management, public speaking, and healthy relationships.
- Programs that support personal development and identity, plus exploration of cultural heritage and their place in Israeli society.
- Week-long seminars throughout the country, including tours and hikes that introduce participants to Jewish and Israeli history and connect them to the Land of Israel.
- Programs to open horizons for the future. Meeting with women leaders, visiting universities, exploring scientific and cultural institutions.
- Preparation for life in the army: physical training, programs on opportunities and challenges for women in the military, female role models, assistance in placement.
The women’s young leadership program is providing participants with important skills to overcome cultural and societal obstacles. The women develop a deep belief in their abilities and the determination to succeed.
Village Way Educational Initiatives and IsraElite are grateful to the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation of Detroit, Michigan and the Women’s Amutot Initiative of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation for supporting this important program.
Click here to read about four IsraElite graduates who achieved the rank of Officer in the Israel Defense Forces.
Read more about IsraElite in Ynetnews.com magazine. “Beating the Odds: Ethiopian-Israeli Women Work for IDF Roles”
Learn more about the Men’s Mechina.