Machon Alte Israeli Program
The Machon Alte Israeli program attracts Israeli young women between the ages of 20-32. They usually come to the program after serving in the army or traveling abroad post-army and most are not previously observant. Yet, despite their lack of history with religion, most of these young women have at some point come in contact with Chabad and through this organization they found something that spoke to their Jewish soul, prompting them to make the decision to learn more about Judaism.
The women who decide to come and further their studies at Machon Alte have already done some studying about Judaism and have made a commitment to learn more about their Jewish heritage. These young women are in the process of becoming observant and come to Machon Alte to be able to enrich their knowledge in order to take on an observant or ‘frum' lifestyle. They are also particularly interested in learning about the different dimensions in Chassidut taught here.
The seminary offers classes in Torah, Halacha, Tefilla (prayer), and how to run a Jewish home, as well as courses in Chassidut and Tanya. The Israeli and English programs share many of the same teachers and offer a variety of guest speakers throughout the year. The students usually come for between one year to fifteen months and there are about 35 young women at any one time. Some of the students are already married, or have their own apartments in Safed. Women in the local community can also take courses on a full time basis or even just an individual class. The seminary also has special Shabbat study weekends (Shabbatons) on a regular basis.
There is an excellent extra-curricula program which enables the students to express themselves in music, drama and art. At Purim they can really let their creative side out by performing in the Purim play, making costumes and props or perhaps singing or playing music. There are also opportunities for hiking, swimming, and other sports.
As the students from both the Israeli and English programs mix socially, the Israeli students have the opportunity to improve their English skills as well as helping the English students with their Hebrew. The program has been running since 1979/80 and many of the students have made lifetime friendships at the seminary.
The well equipped building is located at 33 Jerusalem Street and is part of the main Machon Alte complex. There is a beautiful courtyard with trees where the women can sit outside and relax. The dorms usually have only two to a room with some of the rooms having their own bathrooms ensuite, while others share communal facilities. There are also the usual amenities for students: a library, classrooms, dining rooms, study and lounging areas. All meals are provided for students living in the dorm and on Shabbat and Festivals many students visit family or friends in Safed or elsewhere in the country. If the students get engaged or married while at Machon Alte they can choose to take advantage of the beautiful but inexpensive wedding hall on the premises.
As well as the academic staff, the seminary has two madrichot (student counselors) and a house mother who help with the day to day needs of the women.
The main aim of the program is to help Israeli young women back to Judaism and help them to build a Torah-true home. In this endeavor, Machon Alte has been very successful over the last 30 years.
For more information telephone 04 697 4306 or email [email protected]