The Erez Or Yehuda Pre-army Preparatory Academy

Tzimaon established a pre-army preparatory academy in the city of Or Yehuda in 2015, in partnership with the Jewish Agency, and “Acharai!” [‘Follow me!’], another Israeli non-profit. This preparatory program is part of the Erez network of pre-army academies, open to all Israel youth, with a special emphasis on those from the geographic and social periphery, often under-represented in the popular and sometimes costly gap-year programs. 

The preparatory program runs for a year, serving an important transition between high-school and mandatory military service. During this year, our youngsters benefit from meaningful activities that develops their personal abilities, leadership skills, social awareness, and community involvement.  

Participants engage in hands-on activities while also studying a wide range of enriching subjects, which grow them as individuals while giving them important leadership skills that will serve them well in their coming mandatory service. The program emphasizes helping participants prepare for meaningful service assignments and command. 

The Goal: Personal Empowerment and Responsibility

During their time at Erez Or Yehuda, participants have a unique opportunity for personal growth, inner reflection, experiencing differing perspectives, and developing their personality. Our cadets learn to define goals, they ways to achieve them. The academy is a process, one which places emphasis on responsibility as a value. Participants are taught to take responsibility for their own wellbeing, and they learn to show social responsibility and civic involvement.

One of the unique ways this is achieved is through the Communication and Media Studies, our flagship program that makes Erez Or Yehuda unique from other pre-military academies. We teach language creatively to help our students develop an ear for the nuances of media, which helps them take part in discussions as informed, conscious and involved citizens.  The Communications studies provide students with practical communication skills, professional media training and even documentary journalism, so they may use these valuable tools to address social issues concerning them. 

The Curriculum:

Filming, photography, field investigation, interviewing, basics of production, directing and editing. Studies include theoretical and practical lectures, experimenting with investigative writing and short clips, viewing and analyzing segments of movies and documentary reports. We also have professional guest lecturers come to speak to our student body. At the end of the program, the students submit a final project, a short documentary that deals with social action. 

Continued Support of the Graduates:

We believe that our responsibility towards our graduates does not end with upon their completion of the academy program. We continue this educational momentum during their army service, and after it too, as they rejoin society as civilians. We do this through mentors, who are personally matched with graduates and accompany them throughout the entire process, providing graduates with the counseling, support, friendship and help they need to realize their goals. 

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