About the Machon
The Machon was founded in 1946, as an initiative of the World Zionist Organization, primarily to provide and enhance training programs for the graduates of Zionist Youth Movements from abroad, whose educators required the tools to respond to the major challenges facing Zionism - namely, encouraging immigration to Israel and settling the land, the principal goals of the Zionist movement.
Since then, more than 12,000 graduates have passed through the gates of the Machon. The Machon family comprises young women and men from: South America and Argentina; Mexico and the USA; Europe; South Africa and Australasia; North African countries (in the 1950s); and - in recent years - the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The contribution of our graduates can be discerned today within the leadership of Jewish communities and the top professional echelons of Zionist Jewish education, as well as being felt in every area of Israeli public life. Almost one third of our graduates have immigrated to Israel over the years, integrating at every level of society where they are making a significant impact on the development of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state. The Machon's vision that its graduates should be committed, involved members of the community and Israel, and act as agents of change, is thus being fulfilled.
Vision and Educational Goals
The Machon is an instrument for implementing the shared vision of the Zionist youth movements and organizations with which it is associated:
To develop among its future graduates a sense of commitment to themselves, to their communities, to Israel, and to the Jewish people, in order to enable them to become agents of change in their communities and in Israel, and to contribute to transforming Israel into a model state by helping to strengthen its Jewish and democratic identity.
To fulfill this vision, the Machon program is three-dimensional, across its divisions:
- The cognitive dimension
- The experiential dimension
- The applied dimension
At the Machon, we believe that education is a process involving every facet of our lives and lasting throughout our lives, and that it is constructed from the entire set of experiences that shape a person’s personality.
The Machon represents an educational program which aims to build a model educational community within its ranks. Such an educational community will offer a lifetime framework for people who are free and who respect the rights, difference, and freedom of others.
The Machon is a community comprising students and educators whose backgrounds cover the entire religious and political spectrum of the Jewish world. In the Machon’s educational community, we will be happy to accompany and assist you in the wonderful experience you will share in the coming months.
The educational goals integral to the establishment of this educational community are:
- To uphold the community and ensure its continuity.
- To build a dialogue and interaction between the educators and the participants on the Machon program, and among the participants themselves, within this community.
- To arrange meetings and encounters for Machon participants with milieux that promote personal development.
We strongly believe that a thinking, reflexive and responsible educator is the sum of all her/his experiences and actions.
The Machon’s Responsibility to the Movements/Organizations/ Communities and the Jewish Agency
The Machon has been servicing the Zionist youth movements/organizations and Jewish communities and organizations since 1946. It is the duty and charge of the Machon to produce high quality leaders: these movements and organizations rely on the Machon to train their leaders.
A recommendation from the Machon about a candidate is taken seriously by the Machon staff and the Jewish Agency. The Jewish Agency, the sponsoring movements and the respective agencies of each country wish to be assured that the time and subsidy monies available have been invested wisely in the future leadership of the Jewish People.
What is a Boger/et Machon?
A boger/et of the Machon is a graduate of the program. There are established sets of criteria for the successful completion of the program.
The Machon's assessment process is divided between two main criteria. In order to receive a Machon graduation certificate, the Machon expects participants to succeed in 80% of all assessment criteria, these being designed to help us assess and train good, fluent and thinking madrichim.
These criteria are distributed over the following components:
Study during lessons at the Machon. This is sub-divided into class attendance, acquisition of knowledge, and the creation of an educational language.
Assessment will include:
- Educational and social interaction in the program
- Demonstration of initiative and leadership skills
- Social sensitivity and responsibility to the Machon community
- Interpersonal communication skills
- The ability to reflect on the educational experience at the Machon
Ultimately, the Machon staff require that the participant demonstrate, through his or her performance in all aspects of the program, that he/she has the ability to fulfil the role of madrich/a competently.
Northern and Southern Hemisphere on the Machon
In 2006, the English-Speaking Machon resumed its format of two Machzorim per year – the first being predominantly constituted from youth movements in the UK, and the second comprising youth movement graduates from Australasia and South Africa. This has given the Machon the ability to create different styles of programs that cater for the specific needs of the northern and southern hemisphere, respectively.
Northern Hemisphere Educational Model
This is a course-based program where participants attend the following core subjects that run throughout the Machzor:
- Chinuch – Leadership training – practical madrich/hadracha training and educational philosophy
- Israel History and Society – Zionist ideology, history of the State of Israel & Israeli Society.
- Ivrit – Hebrew language studies
- Kehillah – a survey of Jewish history & contemporary Jewish world
- Judaism – Jewish philosophy, religious texts and Jewish practice.
Aside from these core courses, there are various electives ranging from Israel Advocacy to Chassidut. There is also an option for community involvement through voluntary work.
An important element of the program is the Chavurah. Each Machzor is split into Chavurot composed of 20 – 25 participants. The Chavurah meets on a regular basis, in order to process the experiences of the Machon and to provide a support network.
The program also includes two week-long Tiyulim in the North and South of Israel, and regular day trips to sites in the center of Israel.
Southern Hemisphere Educational Model
This is a seminar-based program. The seminars include:
- Israeli Society
- Biblical Period
- Rabbinic Judaism
- The Medieval Period
- Jewish Literature
- Modern Jewish History
- Early Zionism and the creation of the State of Israel
- Israeli – Arab relations
- The contemporary Jewish World
- Israeli Culture
Participants will also attend a Chinuch course, Hebrew classes and have allocated Chavurah time.
In addition to the regular Machon Tiyulim, there is also a Poland trip – with an emphasis on pre-war Polish Jewry.
Israelis on the Machon
In 2006, the Machon opened its doors to Israeli participants for the first time in its 60-year history.
Through Partnership 2000 and UJIA UK, young Israeli adults involved in the Galilee region program now have an opportunity to join a UK Gap Year program, which includes the Machon. For the Israeli participants, this forms part of their National Service prior to their recruitment into the IDF.
The rationale behind this project is to provide leadership training for young Israeli adults who wish to contribute to communal life in the North of Israel, and also to incorporate a genuine Israeli voice into the Machon, together with a long-term Mifgash (encounter) for our participants from both the Diaspora and Israel.
Full Time Staff
The Director holds the overall responsibility for creating and translating the vision; developing and planning new initiatives; policy making; management; and evaluation of the program, its staff and participants.
The Academic Coordinator is responsible for implementing the educational goals of the Machon and matching these pedagogic goals to the participants' needs and requirements.
The Rosh Chavurah plays a central role in the task of building the Machon’s educational community. S/He is responsible for enabling students to find their place within the community. S/He accompanies and promotes the experience of the individual through dialogue and thoughtful reflection. The Rosh Chavurah is an Israeli educator, who shares the vision of the Machon, and is a person of imagination with a wide range of knowledge.
Each Chavurah is composed of a small number of members who meet twice weekly, study and do things together, and develop views on community life, based on their shared experiences.
The Logistical Rakaz is responsible for the administrative side of the operation of the Machon and day-to-day communication with the participants.