39 Girls Are Enrolled: OU ISRAEL CENTER ANNOUNCES THE OPENING OF MACHON MAAYAN, AN INNOVATIVE ONE-YEAR PROGRAM FOR YOUNG WOMEN FROM ABROAD OF VARIOUS RELIGIOUS BACKGROUNDS
The Seymour J. Abrams OU Jerusalem World Center, in partnership with the Education Department of the Jewish Agency, has announced the opening of Machon Maayan: The Women’s College for Jewish and Israel Studies and Leadership, a new one-year program of the OU Israel Center, for overseas high-school graduates in Israel. Designed for young women from a variety of religious backgrounds, this innovative program has attracted 39 girls from all over the United States and Canada, for its first class, according to Israel Center President, Yitzchak Fund.
According to OU President Stephen J. Savitsky, the program is directed at girls who want to spend a year in Israel but are not ready to go to a typical seminary high school there.
“We are very excited about this program, as it will be the means for the Orthodox Union to continue its educational programs with a year in Israel,” declared Mr. Savitsky.
Rabbi Avi Berman, Director-General of the OU-in-Israel, explained: “This program is a major breakthrough in the annals of both the OU and the Israel Center. Machon Maayan is filling a niche, particularly for those NCSY graduates who are searching for a year of study and community service in a healthy and caring observant atmosphere.”
Machon Mayaan is headed by Rabbi Ira Kosowsky. The Mashgiach Ruchani (spiritual advisor) is Rabbi Barry Goldfischer. Both rabbis have extensive experience in leading formal and informal educational projects.
With so many girls in the program graduating from the OU’s National Conference of Synagogue Youth, Rabbi Steven Burg, National Director of NCSY, sees Machon Maayan as making a major contribution to NCSY’s work: “Where we stop, programs like Machon Maayan continue,” he declared.
Machon Maayan is supported by the Jewish Agency’s Education Department (MASA), the Israeli Government, and the Jewish Agency initiative to support long-term programs in Israel. In partnership with Touro College in New York, the students will receive accreditation for their studies.
Machon Maayan is based in Beit Shemesh, located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 30 minutes from each city, where the students will be able to integrate into the daily lives of the community and make a real and meaningful contribution.
“This is a tremendous achievement,” declared Rabbi Dovid Cohen, former Director-General of the OU Israel Center, who as chairman of the program’s support committee, has been instrumental in launching this new educational enterprise. “The students are bright, achievement-oriented and searching for challenges. The program offers not only a high standard of Limudei Kodesh (Torah study), but also opportunities to learn about and participate in community projects related to Israeli society.”
“Students will explore and familiarize themselves with classical and contemporary commentaries in order to concretize the ideas, while being anchored in textual sources,” Rabbi Cohen added. “The goals of the learning are to promote skills development, enable independent learning, and connect the topics learned to the students’ everyday lives.”
“In this way,” notes Menachem Persoff, Director of Programs at the Israel Center, “these young people will emerge as the inspired leaders of their communities wherever they go.”
For more information, view the Machon Maayan website at www.machonmaayan.org.