The Yahel Social Change Fellowship is a highly subsidized 9-month service learning experience for young adults ages of 22 to 28. The fellowship, combines hands-on volunteer work with in-depth learning and immersion. Fellows work with a variety of populations in Lod and in the Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood of Rishon LeZion including with Arab-Israelis and immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, as well as with Ethiopian Israelis.
Yahel fellows explore Israel by living, learning and volunteering alongside their peers from the local Israeli community. Yahel and its fellows make meaningful contributions to Israeli society by working in collaboration with grassroots organizations and programs working in the local community in the fields of empowerment and education.
The core of the Yahel Social Change Program is volunteer work. Fellows work side by side with volunteers and staff – joining ongoing work in the following projects:
Academic Assistance and Tutoring:
-Assisting English teachers in a formal school setting as well as working with students in afternoon learning centers.
-Tutoring students in English as part of the ‘Homework at Home’ academic assistance program run by Friends By Nature organization, as well as other programs.
-Interning in the office of Tebeka (an Ethiopian-Israeli legal rights organization), assisting in writing grants, social media, development and more.
-Empowering Arab-Israeli women with Na’am.
-Assisting Jindas in the field of urban renewal.
-Minimizing social gaps through technology with Machshava Tova.
-Working together with local residents in a community garden in the neighborhood.
-Taking part in facilitating recreational and educational activities for at-risk youth in the neighborhood.
The learning component is an integral part of the Yahel Social Change Fellowship and touches on many aspects of the experience:
-Contextual Learning: Fellows learn about the complexity of social, religious, economic and other issues faced by residents of Lod and Ramat Eliyahu in particular, and in Israel in general.
-Jewish Learning: Yahel’s Jewish learning curriculum engages participants with some of the core ethical questions related to their service experience. Using both ancient and modern Jewish texts, this component is conducted in a pluralistic Beit Midrash setting, in small groups or in chevruta (pairs).
-Cross-cultural training: Facilitates the integration of fellows into their host community.
-Reflection: Reflection is essential to the experiential education model and is facilitated in a variety of formats – individually, in groups, in written form, verbally and silently.
-Fellows meet with major Israeli change-makers, community members, activists and experts from different fields. In addition, Yahel staff members lead group discussions and support participants’ individual learning throughout the experience.
-Community: Throughout the fellowship the cohort is based in either the Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood or Rishon LeZion or in Lod where they live, learn and volunteer.
-Host Families: Fellows are paired with host families from the community, who invite them for meals, family events and sometimes holidays.
Travel and Seminars
The Yahel Social Change Fellowship includes day trips as well as three seminars and additional weekend trips . These trips are an opportunity to experience Israel off the beaten track, witness social change initiatives around the country, relax, and have fun.