Yahel is a 9 month social change service learning fellowship based in three cities in Israel: Rishon LeZion, Lod, and Haifa. I am currently a fellow volunteering in Rishon LeZion, in a low income neighborhood called Ramat Eliyahu where I work most closely with the Ethiopian immigrant population. I absolutely love living and working in this beautifully diverse city alongside smart, capable, humble, critical thinkers.
As a Jew from the diaspora, I’ve always felt like my education surrounding Israel was very one-sided, it only told a story from the Jewish perspective, which makes sense. One thing Yahel is really good at doing, is challenging people to understand the importance of nuanced perspectives on the world.
Having the intention to understand the concept of "multiple truths" is really important as members of this fellowship. Those who don’t have the inclination to learn new things that challenge their biases will struggle on a program like this. If you are willing to listen to people's subjective experiences with an open mind and heart, you will thrive here. My messaging here may sound pointed, and that's because I truly believe that people with the purpose to grow and learn as an individual and as a community will really gain so much from this opportunity, just as I have.
The space I have been given to hear personal experiences from speakers from every walk of life, to volunteer in organizations that are built by and for the community, to travel and see parts of the country that no other program or service can offer, to debrief and learn from our peers, to have emotionally charged and thought-provoking conversations and personal breakthroughs, to squeeze every bit of knowledge and wisdom out of the incredible staff; all makes this program special.
If what you, the reader, wants from a program is an opportunity to learn, teach, explore, challenge yourself, gain clarity on who you are and your role in the world of community service, then this is the program for you.
I have no regrets in joining this fellowship, and neither do the ~20 peers I have had the privilege to be on this journey with. I am humbled and excited for the last 2 months of this program. I know I will miss Yahel so much when I am gone, but I will take the lessons learned, relationships formed, and life experiences with me forever.