Location
  • Israel
    • Tel-Aviv
    • Haifa

Program Details

Language
English
Age Min.
22
Age Max
30
Timeframe
Year Round
Housing
Apartment
Groups
Medium Group (16-30)

Pricing

Starting Price
900
Price Details
The program cost is $4,500 USD which covers housing, insurance, seminars around the country, and various day trips and guest speakers. Airfare to and from Israel is not included. Scholarships are available that can lower the cost of the program to $1,000 USD.

Get in touch with us! Write to bridget@yahelisrael.com to get started.

Apply at: http://www.yahelisrael.com/apply-now
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Some Meals Travel Insurance Visa Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare SIM cards
Dec 13, 2022
Dec 20, 2022
10 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

The Yahel Social Change Fellowship is a 9-month service-based fellowship for college graduates ages 22-30 who are passionate about social change. The program places fellows at the forefront of social issues facing Israel and equips them with the tools to create real, lasting change.

-Grow professionally by working in a nonprofit setting, teaching in local schools, working with at-risk youth, working in community gardens, and cultivating deep relationships with community members.
-Explore the country and engage with Israeli social change initiatives through meetings with activists, social entrepreneurs, and policymakers.
-Live as part of a diverse local Israeli community and experience the community's culture, tradition, and way of life.
-Learn about social change and community work firsthand

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Join learning seminars and educational trips to engage with Israel through nuance and complexity
  • Learn Hebrew and Arabic in courses led by native speakers
  • Spend 9 months living and volunteering in either Lod, Rishon LeZion or Haifa Israel
  • Earn a monthly living stipend of 1,000 Shekels
  • Program dates: September through June

Program Reviews

4.08 Rating
based on 13 reviews
  • 5 rating 76.92%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 23.08%
  • Impact 4
  • Support 4
  • Fun 4
  • Value 4.1
  • Safety 3.95
Showing 1 - 8 of 13 reviews
Default avatar
Anna
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the most transformative experiences of my life

I was a Yahel fellow in 2018-2019 and lived in Lod. I loved my experience, my cohort, the amazing staff and community members I worked with. Yahel is extremely thoughtful in how they designed their program, interact with the community and create partnerships. My year with Yahel was transformative and is a main reason I have changed my career from medicine to social work, specifically community organizing.

Yahel is intentional with the speakers they have talk to us and seminars we go on. They expose fellows to a variety of people in your specific community and throughout Israel, who all have their own experiences, perspectives and feelings. They created a brave space for us to have difficult conversations, ask questions and challenge eachother.

I always felt supported by staff. When I got really sick, staff called the doctor for me right away and make sure I was seen. When I had to go to the emergency room, different staff members stayed with me all 18+ hours and advocated for me since I did not speak fluent Hebrew. I was completely covered for both experiences by their insurance. Living abroad for 9 months can be difficult at times and when I was struggling mentally, the staff supported me 100% in any way I needed. Both my city director, fellowship director and executive director took time to talk with me, invited me into their homes and provided me with resources.

I still keep in touch with my cohort and have visited many of them, as we have moved around the world. Overall, Yahel is a deliberate program that can provide you with
a vairety perspectives and experiences that you will likely not have access to otherwise. It is an astounding program and I recommend it to anyone looking for an unique opportunity to learn and who is ready to immerse themselves into a different community.

Pros
  • Holistic look at Israel’s social justice scene
  • The strong sense of commuity with other fellows, staff, host families and placements
  • A variety of placements
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Joshua
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A once in a lifetime experience that I will cherish forever.

I did the Yahel Social Change fellowship last year, as part of the 2021-2022 Cohort. I lived in Lod, and volunteered at several schools as an English teacher and English Teaching assistant, worked at an NGO, and more. Before Yahel, I had never been to Israel before, and living there for 9 months seemed like a long time to be away from home. Now, around 5 months after the program ended, I am living in Tel Aviv on a work visa teaching English, something I had never done before Yahel.
The Yahel Social Change Fellowship is for people who are not interested in a brief tourist-stint in Israel. It is for people who are dedicated to serving a community that values them and the work they put into helping their community. The YSCF perfectly encompasses the phrase "Be a traveler, not a tourist." You'll really feel like part of whatever community you are a part of (Lod, Rishon Letzion, or Haifa), which was maybe the most beautiful part of the whole experience. I even had an amazing host family that the fellowship staff connected me with that I ate with every Friday for Shabbat. Beyond the meaningful work placements, the staff was great, helpful, and caring. Beyond the service work, the 4 or 5 seminars that you will take with the program will be fun, interesting, and educational. You'll travel to places most Israelis would never even think about going, like the Druze village in Rameh or an unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev. Having these experiences will teach you more about the complexities of Israel in ways a traditional classroom never could. And since the cohorts are usually a little over 20 people, the group becomes very close and the friends I made there are friends for life. If you're looking to be part of a big family, learn a lot about Israel, and do meaningful volunteer work, Yahel is for you. The YSCF is not meant for people who cannot handle hearing perspectives other than their own. During the learning days and seminars, you'll hear from people with very different perspectives and views on Israel and the conflict at large. During my year, there were a few people that ended up leaving the fellowship. Most of those that left the program were not able truly to empathize with the perspectives of others and left as a result of that as well as being more interested in living in Israel for a year for free than actually serving a community through volunteer placements. Don't let the negative reviews you may see on this site dismay you. If you're someone who cares about understanding different perspectives, wants to serve a cause above yourself, make tons of friends and connections, and learn about Israel in a unique and interesting way, then Yahel is for you. One of the best years of my life. -Josh

Pros
  • Staff and Cohort feel like family
  • Interesting Volunteer placements
  • Trips and seminars are amazing and unique
Cons
  • Volunteering hours can feel like a lot, but you get what you put into the community
7 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
David
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible program

I did the 2012-13 9-month volunteer program. This program is well-designed, intentional, and thoughtful. We networked with a variety of non-profits/NGOs around Israel, which exposed us to the wonderful social justice being practiced across the country. Dana and the Yahel staff worked diligently to ensure participants were assigned volunteer work that aligned to our passions, allowing us to fine tune skills we could bring to our careers back home.

I have not had a more high-impact year since. It was such a transformational and inspiring experience. I recommend it to anyone who is considering work abroad, has even the slightest interest in Israeli social justice issues, and/or wants to do something more meaningful than a weeklong fairytale (ie birthright).

What I love most about this program is there is no sugarcoating of the issues on the ground. Rather than paint a more comfortable picture or ignore a problem, Yahel encourages direct engagement - no running from problems. It’s an approach I respect and wish were prevalent across more organizations.

Pros
  • Holistic look at Israel’s social justice scene
  • Rewarding work
  • Subsidized program
9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Victor
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime

Spending one fiscal year in Israel and learning about its positives and its challenges. It's about appreciating the nuances of being in this very special place and volunteering in order to have a substantial impact to the community.
You get to live in a poor neighborhood, learn about its inhabitants and work with them. Programming also includes small trips all across the country, seminars and learning days, ulpan and also a few Arabic classes.
Staff are really good people and had been very helpful all throughout the experience.

Pros
  • Impactful volunteering
  • Learning from many different angles
  • Nice people
Cons
  • Work can get a bit much at times, it's definitely not for tourists
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Gabrielle
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Phenomenal Program and Supportive Staff

Yahel was one probably the most profound and impactful year I've ever had. I did Yahel in Lod in 2020-21 and met some of my closest friends and community connections. Yahel supported me professionally through an introduction into the non-profit world where I worked with The Abraham Initiatives and taught me a lot about building and creating community. Furthermore, Yahel allowed me to express my opinions and ideas as I struggle (and continue) to struggle with my relationship to Israel. However, I felt we did not shy away from these challenges and I met inspiring people to learn about social change along the way.

My coordinator in Lod was very supportive and knew the community very well which helped us navigate our role there as volunteers. She was local and born and raised in the community which offered us context into the work we were doing. Our fellowship director and executive director were also amazing educators and support for us on the program. Our seminars were very meaningful and taught us a lot about social justice, I really felt like the program invested in our learning and growth.

We were living in Lod in May 2021 when a lot of violence erupted and I felt we had support and the staff made sure to keep us safe in the best ways they could, they even evacuated us from the city after consulting with our community partners and I felt like our safety was their priority and they also provided emotional support.

Of course, there were challenges of navigating the culture and communities that host us, including, language barriers. We had Hebrew classes and minimal Arabic but it really required a lot of personal language learning as well. We also had a lot of placements every week which required a lot of energy and commitment to the community and juggling many different things. This program requires people to take initiative and you really get out what you put in.

Pros
  • Learn about social change
  • Build community and make friends
  • Immersive
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Sydney
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Not a Single Regret

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.

39 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Jack
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Program, People, and Opportunity

I am a current fellow with the Yahel Social Change organization. My program began in September of 2021 and is scheduled to end in June of 2022.

I have had an incredible experience during my time with Yahel and would like to offer a counter perspective - and thus some balance - to the recent reviews below.

I think it’s important for anyone who is currently on this site reading about exciting overseas adventures to take a moment to ask yourself what you’re looking for. Long-term travel abroad can be an exciting, enriching experience, but like most things in life - you’re going to get out of it only what you’re willing to put into it.

It’s often not people or organizations themselves that lead to disappointment or frustration, but our own poor expectation setting. If I enter into a situation and I’m mistakenly expecting X, then you bet I’ll be bummed when I really get Y.

This is, of course, a generalization - and one that’s much easier said than done. But, I want to stress the importance of proper research and self-reflection before taking a leap into a volunteer position in a foreign country with wildly different politics and beliefs, culture, religion, and language than what you’re used to. On top of that, you’ll be doing some emotionally demanding (but rewarding!) volunteer work. Mix in a lot of exhaustive travel and I can understand how it might be difficult to properly set expectations for this journey.

I say all this to ensure that you, anonymous reader, go into this decision with as clear a head as possible. Ensure you’re coming for the right reasons (to broaden your perspectives, to help your community, to understand more about Israel, etc.) and you’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Anything less, and you run the risk of disappointment - just like with anything in your life, and what you can see has happened to some of the previous fellows below.

For those fellows who had a bad time with Yahel - I’m truly sorry that they didn’t get to experience it the way I have. Their experiences are their own and I can’t help what little they’ve managed to get out of the program. However, I disagree wholeheartedly with some of their opinions, and so I’ll leave some of my own for you to be able to see another side to Yahel.

I am in the midst of one of the most fascinating and life-changing years of my life with Yahel. It is such a wildly amazing opportunity that it’s sometimes hard to really believe it’s real.

I have had the opportunity to travel to Israel, meet interesting people from around the world, work at fulfilling volunteer placements, travel the country, meet people from all walks of life, and make incredible friends. I get my rent paid for, I live in an awesome community, and I’ve had the chance to learn Hebrew, Arabic, and more about the Talmud than I thought I’d ever really care to know. Yahel plans multiple seminars in which they travel us around the country - introducing us to new people, places, and ways of thinking. We recently spent 4 days in the Negev meeting locals and enjoying nature.

What does Yahel ask in return? Show up with a participatory attitude. That’s it. No indoctrination, no forced perspective. Just show up with an open mind, be ready to agree or disagree with speakers, fellows, placements, etc. and learn how to navigate that. The world is filled with differing perspectives, and this fellowship - if you let it - allows you the hard opportunity to confront them and grow from them.

I’d also like to give a shoutout to the staff. The people who run this organization - and boy is it a lot of work done by a small group of talented folks - are awesome. They are a great group of empathetic and passionate women who are doing the best that they can to create good in this world. From Director Dana Talmi (who is not a conspiracy theorist) to the community-level coordinators, I’ve felt nothing but supported and heard when I’ve had issues or problems. I recently had an unforeseen tragedy occur in my life and I was comforted, supported, and lifted up by this program. These are good people.

If you’ve gotten this far, it’s clear that you’re at least somewhat invested in looking into Yahel - and I suggest you do it. I just suggest you do it in earnest. Do your research, both internally (why do you want to go?) and externally (what does going look like?), and find out if it’s for you.

Yahel has the opportunity to be a life-changing part of your life - just make sure you come for the right reasons.

41 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Lucia
1/5
No, I don't recommend this program

Unhealthy and falsely advertised

This program is run by toxic people who are often jumping on the side of gaslighting, victim blaming, lying, manipulating, and the list goes on. They are a bunch of annoying people who do not meet their promises even if that entails as urgent matters as medical care, comfort level in hostile environment, and even safety. The same people who tell some of us that we need to seek professional help at times of crises are the same people that:

* Don't care about our well-being
* lied about the medical insurance benefits, uses, and accessibility
* need to seek professional help themselves.

Regardless, that's not the way to go about dealing with vulnerable people during hard time; especially when they played a role in creating and leading to such toxic, hostile environments.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The massive, incomparable difference between reality and the false advertisement portrayed on their website and social media platforms and info sessions/webinars prior to the start of the fellowship.
47 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers