The Israeli Mechina Nachshon

The Multidisciplinary Learning Program

The educational experience of Nachshon exposes the students to many different fields of knowledge, in discussions and lectures, in excursions and trips, and in experiential learning. Among our studied topics: education, philosophy, politics, current affairs, communication, economics, Bible, Israeli culture and more.

Special emphasis is given to five topics:

· Leadership
· Zionism & the Jewish People in Israel & the Diaspora
Jewish Identity
· Israeli Country and Society
· Preparation for IDF Service

In classes and workshops dedicated to leadership, our students learn how to take responsibility and increase their influence on their surroundings. Through experiential learning, students become skilled at assertive and attentive group instruction, public speaking and effective interpersonal communication. Also, students experience leading projects in various topics regarding national, cultural, educational, social or other issues.

Zionism and the Jewish People in Israel and the Diaspora
The story of the Jewish people is introduced with the history of the Israelites. It then continues with learning about Jewish life in the Diaspora and the establishment of the Zionist movement and its revolutionary importance in setting the foundations for a Jewish state. Through discussions, lectures, movies and excursions the students come to realize that the Zionist enterprise is still vital. These studies strengthen the students’ sense of belonging to the State of Israel and to the Jewish nation.

Jewish Identity
Many of our students deal with the meaning of their Jewish identity for the first time at Nachshon. Topics from the Halacha alongside issues of daily life in Israel are discussed weekly with intellectuals, rabbis, teachers and counsellors. Periodically, students go out and meet religious and orthodox groups. This strengthens their tolerance and acceptance of others. The students learn pluralistically about the different groups and movements of the Jewish religion, discover the complexity of the Jewish world and are encouraged to develop an independent viewpoint. As a result, the Jewish identity of the individual and group is consolidated and empowered.

Israeli Country and Society
Learning at Nachshon is not confined to the classroom, but also happens outdoors. During the year, field trips and excursions take place throughout Israel, including challenging journeys on foot. The students themselves, guided by the staff, organize the trips, from determining destination and course, to shaping the programming and logistical aspects. In the process, the students acquire a vast knowledge of the country and come to know the different groups which compose the Israeli society. Every visit is an opportunity to meet the local population and to learn about its lifestyles, customs and opinions.
The students of Nachshon also take the opportunity to perform social action volunteering activities in the communities and with the local populations.

Preparation for IDF Service
Israeli participants enlist to the IDF after their year at Nachshon. Recognizing the importance of a meaningful military service, the students of Nachshon undergo preparation for the IDF in several levels:

  • Physical and practical preparation: physical training, challenging journeys, navigation studies, Gadna military experience. 
  • Informative preparation: the students learn about the IDF and the different positions and roles available in their military service. They meet with Nachshon graduates who discuss military service in the light of the values and the way of Nachshon. Also, students learn about Israeli battle heritage, visit IDF bases, meet with soldiers and commanders and more.
  • Mental preparation: during the ten months of Nachshon, students get accustomed to being away from their homes and regular environments. In addition, various Nachshon experiences are an opportunity to cope with situations in the field and the outdoors, stress and other physical and mental challenges, all in the supportive environment of friends and staff.

As a natural outcome, our graduates who enlist reach their military draft more prepared, mature and fit for the IDF service. They are more motivated to serve in general and specifically in meaningful and influential roles such as officers, commanders, instructors and educators.

Our participants from abroad use this opportunity as a learning tool about the army. They are not required or pushed to join the army. Many continue on to begin their undergraduate degrees in the states. For those that do choose to remain in Israel, the Mechina provides the participants support and information about the enlistment process.