Bnei Akiva

Mind the gap - and tuition fees are to blame

By Robyn Rosen, February 24, 2011

A coalition of communal organisations has launched a 10-week mini-gap year experience to attract those giving up the traditional gap year in Israel to start university before the rise in tuition fees.

Youth movements are concerned that those trying to beat the increased fees of up to £9,000 annually, effective from 2012, will miss out on the gap year experience.

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Youth groups call for gap year clause in tuition fees bill

By Jennifer Lipman, December 13, 2010

Members of Britain’s Jewish youth movements have launched a campaign to challenge the government’s position on the tuition fees rise and gap years.

Bnei Akiva (BA) and the Federation of Zionist Youth (FZY) started the “Mind the Gap” petition out of concern that the prospect of paying fees of up to £9,000 would discourage students from taking a year out before university.

Both movements, along with several other Anglo-Jewish organisations, run popular schemes taking British school-leavers to volunteer and study in Israel.

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British teens 'out of harm's way' from Carmel forest fire

December 3, 2010

British teenagers on gap year programmes in Israel have witnessed first-hand the worst forest fire in the country’s history.

Groups from several British youth movements including FZY, Habonim and Noam were in the town of Shlomi in the north of Israel for a seminar when the fire broke out on Thursday afternoon.

Natie Shevel, the UJIA’s regional director for Israel, reassured that all 160 British participants were safe.

He said: “None of them has been affected and they are all well out of harm's way.”

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Gap year Brits show solidarity with Shalits

By Jennifer Lipman, September 21, 2010

A group of British teenagers have visited the parents of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Bnei Akiva gap year participants, who arrived in Israel earlier this month, met Noam and Aviva Shalit at their protest tent in Jerusalem and presented them with flag signed by all members of the group.

The Shalits have been camped outside Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu’s residence since July to draw attention to their son’s plight.

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Bnei Akiva too religious for some Israeli parents

By Nathan Jeffay, September 2, 2010

Mother-of-four Efrat Shapira-Rosenberg is apprehensive. In a few weeks it will be time for her daughter Avigail to start Bnei Akiva, the religious Zionist youth movement that she, and her parents before her, attended.

Ms Shapira-Rosenberg, of Mazkeret Batya near Tel Aviv, does not want Avigail to miss out on the experience of getting involved, but is worried that since her day, religious standards have changed to a point that she considers extreme.

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Young leader Marc Weinberg mourned

By Jessica Elgot, July 8, 2010

The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has paid tribute to Marc Weinberg, the former executive director of Bnei Akiva and co-founder of the London School of Jewish Studies, who died last Thursday in Israel of leukaemia, aged 35.

Lord Sacks described him as "one of the outstanding leaders of his generation" whose "vision, faith, passion and compassion drew people to him, and he drew the best from them. In a short life he wrote a long chapter in the story of our people in our time. He will be deeply mourned and long remembered."

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Ex-Bnei Akiva chief, 35, dies of leukaemia

By Jessica Elgot, July 2, 2010

Hundreds of people have posted tribute messages on Facebook for fomer Executive Director of Bnei Akiva and co-founder of the London School of Jewish Studies Marc Weinberg, who has died of leukaemia aged 35.

Mr Weinberg, who leaves his wife Natalie and two young children Yona and Maayan, had been ill for three years and had a bone marrow transplant in April.

Mr Weinberg’s mother was former Executive Director of the Chief Rabbi’s office Syma Weinberg. He was mazkir artzi of Bnei Akiva in the UK. Later, Marc was a founder of the Alei Ziyyon minyan in London.

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Chief Rabbi praises young volunteers

June 17, 2010

The Chief Rabbi lauded the achievements of young volunteers at the annual Yoni Jesner Awards, named in memory of a Bnei Akiva leader killed in a terrorist attack in Israel in 2002.

Lord Sacks and Marsha Gladstone, Yoni Jesner's mother, presented awards at St John's Wood Synagogue to year-eight pupils involved in the scheme, which promotes volunteering within the community and in wider society.

Recipients have assisted causes ranging from residential homes for the elderly to environmental projects.

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TV star Joel Weiner joins big Bnei Akiva event

April 22, 2010

Schoolboy Joel Weiner, who found fame this week as one of the questioners of Brown, Cameron and Clegg in the first party leaders' TV debate, was back on more familiar territory on Monday.

The Bnei Akiva member was one of over 1,000 people at the BA celebration at Finchley Synagogue, the country's biggest Independence Day event.

Joel said: "There was the most fantastic atmosphere and everyone felt the great vibe, celebrating Yom Ha'atzmaut with Bnei Akiva and such a big crowd."

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Sharp decline in gap years to Israel

By Simon Rocker, February 18, 2010

The number of youngsters taking gap years in Israel fell dramatically this year because of the financial climate.

Only around 60 went to Israel this year, compared to more than 100 a year over the past three, according to FZY, the UK's largest Zionist youth movement.

And Bnei Akiva, the religious Zionist movement, experienced a slide from about 40 to the lower 20s.

But leaders hope that numbers will begin to climb again this autumn with BA anticipating as many as 55 recruits to its yeshivah and year schemes which can cost as much as £16,000.

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