Jerusalem Experience: Mechinat Etgar and Machon

Mechinat Etgar and Machon run at exactly the same time in the program (February – June). At this point, you have already chosen which program you will participate in, though it may be possible to make a later decision while on Shnat.

Mechinat Etgar

Etgar literally means challenge. The Mechinat Etgar program is specifically tailored and built for Netzer Shnattim. The program is put together and run by our dedicated Netzer Olami staff- made up of Native Israelis, and Netzer graduates who have come to live in Israel when possible.

The aims of the program are to create a strong learning community, educate the group about Israeli society, Jewish History and Culture, and to gain a better understanding of Progressive Judaism. These are all achieved through living as a Reform Zionist community, a community which studies, plays, prays, eats and lives together. The group lives in their own apartment and have to provide for all that entails. E.g. cooking, cleaning, shopping and deciding on issues as a community.

Mechinat Etgar is a holistic program as it expects you to take what you have studied, examine it, and decide how you choose to implement it into your individual lives and into your community.

The days are spent in classes, working on projects and volunteering in different options in the community. Hebrew lessons are also a significant element of the program as are regular short and longer trips. Both Machon and Mechinat Etgar share the same core educational topics, with many of the lecturers being shared by the two programs, but the content is enriched with the specific needs of Netzer madrichim in mind. The content of Mechinat Etgar slightly changes from machzor to machzor according to the previous years’ feedback.


The name Machon comes from “Machon L’madrichei Chutz L’aretz” (the “Institute of youth leaders from abroad”). Machon has been run for over sixty years by the Sochnut (Jewish Agency) as a Zionist youth leadership development program.

Classes take place five days a week (Sunday to Thursday), with a mix of classroom-based and non-classroom based activities. The topics covered change from week to week, giving you a rounded Jewish education. The Machonikim sleep in dormitories on the campus and all meals are provided in the communal dining room. Just as on Etgar, there are regular short and longer trips around Israel as part of the educational program.

Tikkun Olam Period – The Community Experience

For the month and a half that follows the Jerusalem experience period, the Shnattim will experience a couple of different activities around Israel. This will be followed by a month and a hlaf project with the secular Yeshiva BINA and Beit Daniel (The Reform Community in Tel Aviv). The shnattim will stay in the city of Tel Aviv and will volunteer in diferent projects set up by BINA and Beit Daniel as well as take lectures with them. BINA and Beit Daniel have a Tikkun Olam gap year and we wil be doing a month version of it.

Our participants will try to put into action the skills and knowledge gained on Mechinat Etgar and Machon by taking active roles in variuos projects that the participant can choose from such as leading on the Chavaya summer camp, the Chavaya summer camp is a one month camp that is run by Noar Telem, the Israeli branch of Netzer;or lead on variuous summer day camps in Israel; or lead in one of the summer camps from our international branches; or lead a project that promotes our idelogy. Shnattim can request areas of interest and we will do our best to accommodate them, although this can’t be guaranteed

Community Experience on Kibbutzim

During these three months, you will live on Kibbutzim. We do our best to send you to the Reform Kibbutzim in the Arava (Yahel and Lotan), but cannot guarantee it, as it is up to many different parameters such as the work available, housing etc. It is possible that the group will stay in other kibbutzim. While on the kibbutz, the group will form their own Reform Zionist Community. They will work in the different kibbutz work branches during the day and have activities to help them become part of the wider community.

Logo of Masa Journey as supporters of Netzer Olami programs

Shnat Netzer is supported in part by Masa Israel Journey, a joint project of the Government of Israel, the Jewish Agency for Israel and its partners, the Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod – UIA.