Emergency appeal to support gap-year yeshivah schemes

Mizrachi aims to maintain scholarships for students from UK and North America


Mizrachi UK will take part in an emergency international appeal next week to raise money for scholarships for yeshivah and seminary students.

Subsidies for British students amount to nearly £400,000 every year. But the economic fallout from the pandemic in Israel has led to cuts in support for gap year programmes.

The “If I forget you, Jerusalem” campaign is being orchestrated by World Mizrachi, the religious Zionist movement, and will benefit around 50 Israeli institutions including several popular with British students such as Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh and Midreshet Lindenbaum.

Last month, Masa Israel Journey, the agency which runs a variety of gap-year programmes for diaspora youth, said it was cutting grants for yeshivah and seminary students from the UK and North America who were below the age of 22.

Mizrachi UK chief executive Rabbi Andrew Shaw said it was “vital that everyone who wishes to attend yeshivah or sem is able to. This is what the campaign is about.

“We know from JPR [Institute for Jewish Policy Research] what impact it can have for young men and women to go and study for a year in Israel. The community also benefits when they come back and take up roles in the community. They are fantastic role models.”

Up to 150 students from the UK go to yeshivah or seminary through Masa annually. The cost of fees and living in Israel could be up to £20,000 a year, Rabbi Shaw pointed out. Masa, the Jewish Agency and the Israeli government have promised to put in triple the amount raised by the 48-hour campaign.

Rabbi Doron Perez, chief executive of World Mizrachi, said “few experiences transform Jewish lives more than a gap year in Israel. We are not allowing the crisis to weaken our incredible Torah institutions or deny even one student this life-changing year. This is the essence of Mizrachi’s mission.”

Some 3,000 students from America, Canada and the UK participate in advanced Torah learning at the institutions covered by the campaign.

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