Ella Paluch was one of 11 young women from the Mizrachi community who recently returned from Israel after completing the second Mizrachi Recharge program this year.
Mizrachi Recharge is designed for members of the Mizrachi and wider Jewish community in the 19-28 age group to experience a three-week immersive program in Israel.
Rabbi Ronnie Figdor explained the purpose of the program is to re-engage with young adults in their 20s who may have become less interested in shule life in recent years.
The aim is to “fire them up with a love for Israel and learning”, he said.
“I’m thrilled for some of the participants for whom this will be their first time studying in a yeshivah or midrashah.”
Paluch said she went on the Recharge program to gain experience at a midrashah and enhance her Torah learning, and to get a taste of some gap-year style touring.
“I really enjoyed touring in the north, especially our visit to the Golan and the story of Tel Saki with Yaakov Selavan.”
Another highlight was the Recharge Shabbaton in Chashmonaim. She said their group had the chance to bond plus the opportunity to meet olim and see how happy they are to be living in the Holy Land.
Figdor said, “Kudos first goes to the inspiration of Mizrachi immediate past president David Brykman who approached me in late November 2022 and asked if I could organise a pilot program for January 2023.”
Figdor organised a yeshivah in Gush Etzion and a midrashah in the Old City of Jerusalem for the initial 12 participants and liaised directly with yeshivot and midrashot for the two-week program.
Brykman said, “I’m particularly heartened that we have young people from beyond Mizrachi [included]. Prerequisites for the trip was having at least reasonable Hebrew together with previous Jewish learning.
In exchange participants had to attend some pre-program learning in the Beit Midrash before leaving Melbourne. They are now fulfilling a six-month commitment to continue learning in the Mizrachi Beit Midrash one night a week.”
Mizrachi Melbourne covered all the ground costs including medical insurance, while participants paid for their own flights.
“Some assistance was offered in cases of great need,” Brykman said.
Working the land with an Israeli farmer, kayaking, and raft building were just some of the activities included in the July Recharge.
Figdor said due to the popularity of the two programs, Mizrachi is exploring ways to open future events to other states.
“We are even finding people asking about the possibility of a parents Recharge program.”
Applications are open for the January 2024 program at tinyurl.com/rechargejan2024