The Midrasha is joint venture of Sha'ar La-Adam-Bab L'ilInsan, the Jewish Agency and the Yigal Alon Centre which entails bringing together a group of 30 Jewish and Arab high-school graduates for a 7-month intensive program at our centre. It is a unique program where Israelis from all different religions and cultures (Jews, Muslims, Christians etc.) come to live together, volunteer and study on how to shape their joint future.
Acknowledged and co-funded by the ministry of Education, the program aims at achieving the following goals:
Strengthening young adults’ personal identity and capacity for self-inquiry, while developing a spirit of social-entrepreneurship
Provide young adults with the necessary skills to promote a Jewish-Arab partnership across various social, cultural, economic or political spheres
Enhance young adults’ motivation and capacity to engage in meaningful social or state service which could in turn contribute to their personal development and livelihoods
These goals are achieved through three main branches of action activities: study and self-inquiry, volunteer work and community-life.
To begin with, the Midrashsa aims at enhancing participants’ understanding of socio-political issues, through meetings with key figures, regular courses and independent group research. Studying also entails learning about the different cultures present in the Midrasha –learning to speak each other’s languages (Hebrew and Arabic), learning each other’s historical narratives, literature, traditions etc. Studying does not stop in the classroom – the Midrasha includes 8 weekly field trips where participants meet the different realities and narratives face-to-face, including a 2-week field trip which they organize and carry out completely on their own.
Beside gaining knowledge, a strong emphasis in the Midrasha in Shaár La-Adam is on experience and self inquiry. This happens through artistic work such as theatre, where participants learn to express themselves in a variety of creative methods. It is realized through physical training where participants learn to challenge themselves and go beyond their limits – both as individuals and as a group. Furthermore, participants learn to engage in a collective self-management setting where they assume full responsibility for their daily routine, including their physical, social, cultural and spiritual needs or desires. In such a diverse group, this serves as a platform for exploring the creation of a truly shared, cohesive Jewish-Arab society in Israel.
Finally, participants engage in a meaningful volunteer work 2.5 days a week throughout the entire program, in various locations – teaching Hebrew in the nearby Bedouin school, working with adults with special needs in one of the curative communities in Kibbutz Harduf, training to be a volunteer in the nearby fire station, etc. This volunteering work also aims at preparing participants for the next stage – following the Midrasha (state service). The aim of the Midrasha is to assimilate participants in the most valued institutions or units, so their time of service truly serves as a leverage for their personal development.