The Shdemot Center for Community Leadership
Director: Dani Meiraz
The Shdemot Center was established by Oranim College in 1999 for outreach and community building. Shdemot is recognized as a leader in the field of community building in Israel and serves as an educational resource center. It provides programs and develops innovative field models and off-campus training with community professionals, laypeople, educators, and students, using the expertise of college faculty and staff.
Shdemot works to build more vibrant, healthier communities across Israel that have a shared vision and engaged leadership. The center serves all sectors of Israeli society, providing support to communities who are in the process of integrating new neighborhoods, and communities who are facing security threats, crises, or negative population growth.
The center designs programs for building social capital and promoting social cohesion through community networks. The staff specializes in on-site development, working with Jewish and Arab citizen groups, schools, educators, local governments, and non-profits. Results show increased cooperation and dialogue between individuals and groups, stronger local citizenship, and more shared values and goals. Program areas include: community building and training, environmental sustainability, women’s status and motherhood, young educators, and parenthood counseling.
Putting the North in the Center
In this program, 80 Oranim students mentor 300 at-risk youth in 10 different schools for one year. The program staff provide expert supervision to small teams of 4 to 6 students, and each team is assigned a school with several classes of children, aged 13 to18. Once a week, the students facilitate a unique after-school program for these youth, including tutoring and social activities that focus on character building and boosting their motivation to succeed. The volunteers provide crucial emotional and academic support to youth who are at risk of dropping out of school, and help them to become serious about themselves and their studies.
HaMidrasha Educational Center for Israeli Judaism
Dr. Moti Zeira
For over 25 years, HaMidrasha has been a pioneer and leader in pluralistic Jewish education – with programs aimed to fortify Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, whose Jewish citizens enjoy a vibrant connection to their culture and heritage. HaMidrasha embraces a pluralistic, humanistic and equitable approach to Judaism which offers spiritual access and freedom of expression for women and men of all backgrounds.
HaMidrasha is now the largest center of its kind in the north of Israel, with programs that empower some 40,000 Israelis annually. Incorporating Jewish and Zionist sources, HaMidrasha’s programs are designed to reinforce Jewish identity and a commitment to building a tolerant and equitable Israeli society.
HaMidrasha’s flagship programs include Makom, a holistic program for Jewish Education in the school and community, The Beit Midrash for Israeli Rabbis, in cooperation with the Shalom Hartman Institute, The Yitzhak Rabin Pre-Army Leadership Academy and the Elga Stulman Programs- Nigun Nashim for Gender and Judaism Studies.
The Yitzhak Rabin Pre-Army Leadership Academy (Mechinat Rabin)
Mechinat Rabin was founded in 1998 to develop a cadre of young adults committed to Jewish education and values, and social leadership for Israeli society. The intensive, year-long experience is designed for high school graduates who postpone their army service for one year in order to live and study together as a group, while engaging in volunteer community work in disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout northern Israel. Through its unique educational approach combining intellectual study, emotional involvement, and group experience, Mechinat Rabin aims to encourage young adults to take responsibility for the challenges facing contemporary Israeli society and to become leaders of social change in their adult lives.
Bi-Regional Center for Gifted Children and Youth
Director: Dr. Michal Krupnik-Gottlieb
Gifted children are those who are ranked in the top 1.5% of their age group; they have extraordinary intellectual potential. Each year, 400 gifted boys and girls from the greater Haifa region (Haifa, the Krayot, Tivon, Yokne’am and the Jezreel Valley) attend the center for an enrichment program.
Classes help develop creativity and cognitive and scientific thinking, as well as leadership and other social skills. A wide variety of courses include Animal Medicine, Japanese, English, Digital Photography, Digital Music Composition, Radio Broadcasting, Video, Animation, Computer Programming, Chess, and Physics. Classes are taught by instructors who are trained in educating gifted children.
Another program for talented children (ranked in the top 5%) enrolls 350 students in grades 4 to11. Through these unique programs, Oranim gives 750 gifted and talented young children opportunities for intellectual stimulation and social networking and development with their peers.