Israeli Roots Odyssey offers programs for several audience
- Israeli high school students (to date, 11th graders)
- IDF commanders
- New: Masa for Jews from the Diaspora
- Uniquely tailored educational tours
Israel Roots Odyssey for Israeli high school students
To date, the program has been targeted for 11th graders. The Ministry of Education wishes to expand this program to include a larger fractio of 11th grade students in Israel as well as to do the program for 10th and 12th graders as well. All this, however, will depend on private matching funding that the Israeli Roots Odyssey can raise.
The program that focuses on 11th graders, takes place at a critical point in the lives of the students. It provides these young people a meaningful and unforgettable experience that empowers a feeling of responsibility in the nation’s future generation and leaves a positive impression on their personalities and identities.
The program itself was developed together by the management of the Mibereshit Foundation’s Israeli Roots Odyssey and the Ministry of Education’s Shelach (Israel Studies) Division and has been operating since 2006. The Odyssey's educational process is based on preparation in the school itself prior to the trip, on the powerful experience of the participant during the Masa itself, and a significant follow up and summary of the experience in the school following the Masa.
Israel Roots Odyssey in the IDF
The Odyssey for IDF commanders is meant to empower the participants as future commanders in the military, through the strengthening of the feeling of belonging and responsibility to the land, people and State of Israel. From the inception of the program in 2009, more than 20,000 IDF personnel from command courses have participated in the program.
The week-long Masa for the IDF is built on a continuum of experiential and challenging activities in parallel to dynamic, group discussion circles, that allow the participants to have a relevant and deep personal and group examination as to the essence of their unique identities as Israelis and Jews in the chain of generations and the significance of this in their roles as soldiers and commanders in the Israel Defense Forces.
Following the Masa, the soldiers continue their military service inspired with a feeling of national, Jewish and Zionist identity through a deeper understanding of the significance of serving as soldiers in the army of the State of Israel. The Masa strengthens their identification with the IDF and the State, makes their military service more meaningful and influences them as citizens who will shape the image and future of the State of Israel.
Israel Roots Odyssey for Jews from the Diaspora
A new project, which started in 2013, is tailored for Jewish youth from the Diaspora that are in Israel for extended periods through other programs. The overriding objective of this project is the strengthening of the feeling of connection and belonging, as well as responsibility of the participants to the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and the State of Israel. From the dynamic group discussions of the unique concentric circles of the Masa, the Jewish youth understand the connection between them and the land and State of Israel, especially in the context of the difficulties they have dealing with these connections as Jews living in a multi-identification reality abroad.
The program discusses with the participants questions such as whether their historical roots are here, on this piece of land. Do they have responsibility as Jewish youth to the State of Israel and its future existence? How can they make a difference where they live? Why do they need to demand social solidarity and communal involvement as young Jews?
The length of the Odyssey and its content are tailored to the needs of the groups and countries of origin.
Uniquely Tailored Educational Trips
The Israeli Roots Odyssey is expanding its activities to include tailored value-based educational trips for a variety of audiences and in cooperation with different partners:
- Masa with the Genesis Philanthropy Group – for Russian speaking youth
- A joint Masa for Israel and Jewish Diaspora youth
- Leadership Masa
- Masa for adults
- Masa for youth at risk
- Masa for the Desert Patrol Unit
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