A proud history of thriving Aliyah absorption
A proud history of thriving Aliyah absorption
WIZO Hadassim Youth Village is located centrally in Even Yehuda, near the city of Netanya. The school was established in 1947 for children who survived the Holocaust and arrived in Israel without parents, or whose parents were unable to care for them.
From the beginning, the school has focused on Aliyah absorption, helping support children as they acclimate to the country on a physical and emotional level.
Over the years the school has absorbed immigrants from Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union, and from all across Europe and Latin America. There are also native Israeli students at the village, including local students from Even Yehuda, as well as some from the periphery of the country, and some who are part of the Aliyat Hanoar program.
Tolerance and diversity in a child-centered environment
Hadassim Youth Village is a diverse and multicultural environment. While there are different populations who attend the school, they interact in a way that is genuine and respectful.
The school’s vision is strongly guided by ideals of Janusz Korczak. His child-centered philosophy echoes in the encouraging approach of the school and its staff towards the students.
Volunteering is an important value at the school. Students volunteer with the elderly, with autistic children, and with other groups in the area. It is clear to students that when they give of themselves, they also receive. They form a bond with different sectors of Israeli society and learn that they have much to offer to others.
Hadassim’s Naale students hail from various Latin American and French-speaking communities. The families tend to be Zionistic and embody the spirit of “noar oleh lifnei horim” (for which Naale is an acronym) – youth who make Aliyah ahead of their parents. These students see themselves building a future life in Israel, and are eager to start the process now.
Often, Hadassim has students who are siblings or cousins of other students, a further testament to the school’s success. Hadassim’s Naale students originate from 24 different countries!
Students at Hadassim tend to be academic and want to excel in their studies. While they may come from different places and different types of backgrounds, there is an atmosphere of tolerance, connection, and mutual appreciation between the different groups.
A comprehensive education that prepares students for life
Students at Hadassim learn all of the mandatory subjects for the bagrut such as math, English, the sciences, literature, social sciences, and more. The school offers scientific megamot (electives) in physics, chemistry, biology, computers with an option for programming and cyber. Tanach, or Bible studies, are also taught to all students. Those who wish to learn religious subjects more intensively can also opt for an added class in the parsha, or weekly Torah portion.
There are also artistic megamot such as music, theater, film, art, and dance. Other subjects studied include geography, technology, sociology, business administration, and English at the native speaker level.
The learning center at Hadassim is available to students who want extra help with their studies. Staff are there to support students and help them attain high levels of success.
A range of creative options for self-expression
Many chugim are offered at Hadassim. Students are encouraged to explore the different options and develop their interests. Part of Hadassim’s child-centered approach is to allow students to try as many chugim as they want.
chugim include sports such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, a cycling group, a running group, physical fitness in a fully equipped gym, hip hop dancing, and Judo.
Music chugim offered include guitar, drums, music, piano for beginner and advanced levels, and a music ensemble. there is a music megama in which students reach a high level of study as well.
Other chugim are offered depending on student interest and availability. At Hadassim, extracurriculars are more than merely fun clubs. they are creative outlets that give students the opportunity to express themselves and develop confidence-building skills.
Taking pride in one’s culture while making Israel home
Acclimating to life in Israel is a priority at Hadassim. Students get to know the richness and diversity of the land of Israel. They live side by side with Israeli students. At Hadassim, the message is clear: Maintain your home culture, share it with others, all while developing a love for your new home in Israel.
There is a very open and positive approach to multiculturalism at Hadassim. Celebrations from other groups and communities are embraced by everyone. The students celebrated Mimouna, the post-Passover holiday that originated in the North African Jewish communities. They also commemorated the Ethiopian holiday of Sigd, and Novy God or the Russian New Year. Of course, the full gamut of Jewish holidays are celebrated at the school as well.
Celebrations at Hadassim are a vibrant crossroads of cultures. Everyone enjoys themselves, with plenty of lively dancing and great energy. On a recent culture evening, different groups within the school hosted one another so that each could take a turn teaching others their customs and learning about the traditions of their peers.
Students go on tiyulim, or trips throughout Israel, in which they get to know the land in a fun and hands-on way. Students also participate in the Gadna program, in which they learn about and prepare for their upcoming military service.
Hadassim’s Naale students acclimate to Hebrew studies in the earlier stages of the program. From the 11th grade, Hebrew is the language of instruction. This allows students to integrate more into classes with their Israeli peers, and to deepen their social ties with Israeli friends.
Forming meaningful bonds with other students both in and out of the program is a goal at Hadassim, and a shared language is one of the best ways to accomplish this.
Attentive staff and active student groups
The Naale staff at Hadassim includes dedicated teachers, counselors, and professionals who are there for students and offer academic and emotional support. Therapists on staff who speak Spanish, Portugese, French, and English are available to students as well.
At the school, there are committees, or vaadot of students in a huge array of categories. There are vaadot that deal with culture, the school atmosphere, environmental awareness, and social causes. Students join particular vaadot via school elections, and the groups help determine school activities. The vaadot are a great way to get involved and connect with like-minded peers.
Dorming and Facilities at Hadassim
Each dorm building at Hadassim has a common area with a kitchenette equipped with a refrigerator and microwaves, as well as a television. Dorm rooms accommodate 3 or 4 students and include a small bathroom with a shower and toilet. There are washing machines and dryers in the dormitories for students to use.
Hadassim features a computer room, laboratories for chemistry, physics, biology, and robotics, a library, a dance hall, a music hall, a publishing and art hall, a theater, and a small cinema.
Shabbat, Holidays, and Religious Observance
Many students come from homes that are traditional in terms of Jewish observance. It is important to the families that the school atmosphere allows and encourages their children to maintain these traditions. To this end, Hadassim is a religiously friendly school in which there is kosher food as well as a synagogue for Shabbat prayers.
There are students who observe Shabbat and those who don’t. Everyone respects one another’s choices and customs at Hadassim.
Weekend activities at the school don’t interfere with Shabbat observance. While there is a Friday night disco at the school, alternate Shabbat-friendly activities can be done at this time instead, such as activities with the madrich (counselor) in a school mo’adon (rec room).
In 2018, Hadassim won the National Education Prize for the best education in the country. Only one high school wins this honor each year. Hadassim was awarded this same honor 15 years ago as well.
In 2019, both the Hadassim French program and Latin American program had a 100% matriculation rate for the bagrut exams, an impressive accomplishment for any school, and particularly for a program with many olim students.
Graduates of the school have gone on to become successful in every field of Israeli society. Among them are Knesset member Shelly Yechimovich, as well as other politicians. Israeli film actress Gila Almogor attended Hadassim, and the school is portrayed in a film about her life