The educational framework at the Village is based on the three elementary principles of study, community and work.
The Youth Village provides a full junior and senior school academic education from the 7th through the 12th grades, preparing its students for matriculation. Sciences, humanities, sports, art, communication, cinema and theater majors are offered. The foreign students at the Village study in their native tongue, supplementing their general studies with courses in the Hebrew language, Jewish history, Judaism, Zionism and Modern Israel. Frequent field trips throughout the country help familiarize them with their new homeland.
A vast and varied program of extra-curricular clubs and courses are held in the afternoons and early evenings, including folk dancing, music lessons, theater, arts and crafts, Jewish traditions and sports. The Village dance and music troupes perform extensively in Israel and abroad and our sports teams participate in competitions throughout the country. The Village Remedial Learning Center provides extensive hours of private and group tutoring to all students who need extra help with their studies.
According to our ideology, work is an important value and, therefore, an integral part of the educational program of the Village, which involves all the students in responsible work positions in the areas of gardening and landscaping, kitchen and dining hall duty, office work and general maintenance and upkeep.
In addition to learning skills and molding creativity, this fosters the ideals of self-help, group cooperation and responsibility, instilling both individual pride in their accomplishments and group pride in the Village.
NA’ALEH This program has been bringing many youth from the former Soviet Union to the Village annually since 1993. Designed to offer the youngsters an opportunity to receive a quality high school education with matriculation, to learn about their Jewish heritage, to be exposed to Israeli life and customs and learn Hebrew, the Na’aleh program is open to the 9th -12th graders coming to Israel without their families. The Village is justly proud that over 95% of its Na’aleh graduates are now Israeli citizens serving in the I.D.F and/or studying in Israel’s institutions of higher education. Some Na’aleh students who have completed their army service are even employed as counselors at the Village.
PROGRAM OF AUTISTIC CLASSES Several years ago the Village opened its doors and its heart to host a city-run educational program for low-level functioning autistic youth. Beginning with 8 students in 2 classes, the program has expanded to its full capacity – now accommodating 36 students in 8 classes. The full-day /early-evening program provides a full range of learning experiences and activities and also includes speech, occupational and physical therapy. Whenever possible, the students are integrated into the Village activities, ceremonies, festivities and outings. The Village students and staff work together on a daily basis as volunteers, assisting the dedicated professional staff. Working with autistic youngsters has proven to be a valuable and meaningful experience for the Village students, encouraging a desire to give of oneself while gaining great satisfaction and fulfillment by helping those less fortunate.
FRENCH HIGH SCHOOL For many years the village has maintained a French-speaking high school for the 10th-12th grades for French speakers from France and Morocco who choose to study in Israel, usually without their families. The course of study prepares the students for the French matriculation while at the same time teaches Hebrew language, Zionism and Israel-related studies. Some graduates return to their native land to take their role as adult leaders in the local Jewish community, while most choose to accept Israeli citizenship and remain to continue their studies and serve in the I.D.F. The Village is especially proud that the French program successfully includes both religious and secular students.
MUSIC MATRICULATION While music education has always been an important part of the extra-curricular program, the Village now offers its talented youth the possibility of a full music matriculation program including private lessons on their chosen instrument and studies with a musicologist. The success of the participants ensures their acceptance into a music academy upon graduation.
CONVERSION COURSE Today, the majority of the Village’s 350 residential students hail from the former Soviet Union (F.S.U.) Although they (and their families) can enter Israel by having one Jewish grandparent, they are only recognized as Jews by Halacha (Jewish law) if their mother is Jewish. Although all our students consider themselves Jews and are eager to learn and absorb the Jewish practices and traditions, not being officially Jewish is a problem – especially when they are ready for marriage. As, unfortunately, the conversion process for adults in Israel can be very problematic for many reasons, the Village has been eager to establish its own conversion course to ease the process and insure that, upon graduation, the students’ Jewish identity is guaranteed.
“ADOPTION” PROGRAM FOR AFRICAN REFUGEES In a truly courageous move and as a humanitarian gesture, the Village opened its gates in the spring of 2005 to 10 youngsters who had been held in a detention center in Israel for several months. They had fled from their homes (Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan) to escape both the horrors of war and induction into the army. Their families encouraged them to leave with the hope that they would reach Israel. Each year, the Village continues to absorb new refugees. They live in the dormitories together with the Village students, but have separate classes where they first learn Hebrew and then basic studies. They are given the opportunity to work at the Village in order to earn spending money and, in some cases, help their families. As each refugee arrives, the entire Village family reaches out to help these youngsters who have undergone extreme trauma during the long trek from their villages to Sudan, then to Egypt and through the Sinai Desert before escaping across the border into Israel. Despite the difficult challenges in absorbing these youngsters and dealing with their special needs, the Village feels obligated – both as Jews and as educators – to do its utmost to help while at the same time, showing the Village students the importance of aiding those less fortunate.