Tikun Olam

Svetlana's Angels: UBA Arad makes a wedding

Moshe and Svetlana are both 26 and new immigrants from the former Soviet Union. They met each other in Beer Sheva and fell in love. Svetlana recently lost her mother to cancer and has no contact with her father. Moshe also lost all contact with both his parents after making Aliyah on his own. The couple wanted to marry, but had no resources to afford a traditional Jewish wedding.

15 YBA schools included among the top schools in Israel

The Ministry of Education released last week its list of top ranking high schools in Israel. This is the third time that the ministry has used a ranking system featuring a variety of parameters to determine which schools are the leading "value-laden" schools in the country, rather than basing school ranking solely the percent of students matriculating for admittance to institutions of higher education. According to the ministry's ranking system, 15 of the top 261 high schools (6%) belong to the Yeshivot Bnei Akiva educational network in Israel.

YBA Director General,
Elchanan Glatt
 Elchanan Glatt, Director General of YBA, said in response to the publication of the new ranking, "We are proud of our faculty members, who invest in each and every student. These rankings show that education toward Torah values and excellence go hand in hand. We will continue in this path of value-laden education, because we are convinced that it is the right way."

The teachers in the top 261 schools were rewarded with salary bonuses raging from $750 to $2,000 based on their school's relative position on the list. 
 
The relative weighting of the various measures were adjusted this year, after critics of the new ranking system last year claimed that the weighting favored schools in the religious Zionist sector. Even after the adjustments, however, about 40% of the top 261 schools this year were from religious Zionist educational networks.


The ranking system measures applied to over a thousand high schools in Israel included:

  • individual instruction plans according to each student's abilities and disabilities
  • consistency of ongoing faculty involvement in the implementation of instruction plans
  • level of faculty in-service training for ongoing professional advancement
  • inclusion of special needs students in school framework and extent of mainstreaming
  • faculty interventions to reduce student drop-out rate
  • percentage of graduates serving in IDF and National Service
  • involvement of students in voluntary community service projects (Tikun Olam)
  • percentage of graduates achieving full matriculation certificates and average scores
  • level of studies offered in Humanities, Mathematics and the exact Sciences
  • maintaining a matriculation examination process free of irregularities
  • rate of improvement in all parameters over previous year's scores
The YBA (yeshiva) and UBA (ulpana) high schools making the top schools list are:
  1. YBA Kinor David, Ateret .........................(joined YBA in 2010; 120 students)
  2. YBA Beit Shmuel, Hadera ........................(established in 1962; 210 students)
  3. YBA Pirchei Aharon, Kiryat Shmuel .......(established in 1961; 317 students)
  4. YBA Lapid Torat Nachum, Modiin .........(established in 1998; 823 students)
  5. YBA Ra'anana, Ra'anana ..........................(established in 1960; 308 students)
  6. YBA Sussya, Sussya ..................................(established in 1998; 158 students)
  7. YBA Aderet, Bat Yam ...............................(established in 1970; 274 students)
  8. UBA Neot Avraham, Arad ........................(established in 1968; 163 students)
  9. UBA Orot Modiin, Modiin ........................(established in 1998; 713 students)
  10. UBA Segula, Kiryat Motzkin ......................(established in 1965; 529 students)
  11. UBA Neve Ruchama, Jerusalem ................(joined YBA in 2008; 288 students)
  12. UBA Or Akiva, Or Akiva ...........................(established in 2000, 111 students)
  13. UBA Reut, Petach Tikvah ...........................(joined YBA in 1984, 353 students)
  14. UBA Neria, Neria ........................................(established in 2004; 279 students)
  15. UBA Tzfira, Zafaria ....................................(established in 1967; 626 students)
  16. UBA Ramat Karniel, Kfar Pines ................(established in 1960; 458 students)
 

YBA Alumni Profiles: Eli Orgad, owner, 'Burger Ranch' fast food chain

Eli Orgad
Eli Orgad was born and raised in Netanya, the sixth son in a family of nine children. "I grew up smelling the feet of my brothers. We slept in the same bed with their legs tucked up by my nose. Eli studied at YBA Yad Avraham, a residential yeshiva high school in Netanya. “I was a rebellious kid,” he recalls, “I didn’t always get up in time for morning prayers. I remember once my father was called into the office after a long day at work, and he said to me, ‘Wait till you have kids and they do to you what you’re doing to me!’”

It was at the yeshiva where Eli got his first taste in business – selling wafer snacks to his fellow students every evening. “The sound of a wafer being crunched while studying at night is something that nobody can resist,” he laughs. "My father always said that I would become a businessman."

At the age of 21, when Eli finished his army service, he couldn’t afford to go straight to college, so he established his first company instead – a cleaning service. At first, the word "company" was a little big for the operation, which relied mainly on him cleaning stairwells himself. But he had a vision, and by the outbreak of the First Lebanon War in 1982, his company was already cleaning forty office buildings. “When you want to go to university and don’t have money, the only thing you can do is cleaning stairwells,” says Eli. He finally received a Law degree 25 years later, from the Ono Academic College.

When war broke out in Lebanon, Eli was called up for reserve duty and his younger brother, Yuval, tried to keep the company alive, but it didn’t really work out. When Eli returned from the battlefield, he discovered that most of his customers had left. But the branch manager of Bank Mizrahi had faith in him. “He extended my credit line because I was in the reserves,” says Eli, “and I have stayed with him in gratitude ever since.”

Eli’s company, Orgad Holdings, Ltd., acquired the Burger King chain of fast food restaurants in Israel in 2003, and later, the more veteran Israeli Burger Ranch chain as well. In 2008 the company merged the two chains and eliminated the Burger King label, making Burger Ranch, with over 100 branches, the sole competitor to MacDonald’s in Israel. “We did extensive market research and found that Israelis preferred the taste of the Burger Ranch products. We saw sales jump 35% in every branch we converted to the Burger Ranch label.”

Eli, a man of faith, is happy to share his worldview: “Israel is the land of endless possibilities. If a person wants to succeed here - he can do anything. That's how I opened business after business. What is stopping someone from opening tomorrow a clothes shop on Sheinkin Street, or any other business? Nothing. You can do whatever you want, start a business and think all day about how to bring in costumers. That's what I do now. Every day I think about how to bring customers to the branches, so they will be full all day long. That’s what I do.”

“But it’s important to always remember to be a good person. I study Gemara once a week, and try to be a good person. Employees remain with us for many years, because I believe we must treat everyone nicely and be a ‘mench’. If an employee is short of money, he knows he can come to me and I'll give him loan.”

What’s Eli’s advice to a 22 year-old, just getting out of the army today?  - “Do what you love to do, as long as you stick persistently to your goal. You cannot be successful without putting your soul into whatever you choose to do. If you can afford college, go study; then, go do whatever your heart desires.”
YBA Nachal Yitzchak, Nechalim

YBA Nachal Yitzchak, established in 1955, is one of the oldest schools in the YBA educational network. Today the school serves 485 students in both residential and non-residential tracks. 

YBA Alumni Profiles: Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder, "Shurat HaDin" Israel Law Center

Nitsana Darshan-Leiter
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, a graduate of  Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Yeshurun in Petach Tikvah, is an Israeli attorney and human rights activist. The organization she founded - Shurat HaDin - the Israel Law Center, whose lawsuits on behalf of terror victims against terrorist groups, their leaders and financial patrons, has earned her the Moskowitz Family Foundation "Oz Tzion" Prize, and being named by the Jerusalem Post as one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world.

"I remember my years at the Ulpana as happy times. I still stay in touch with some of my friends from high school to this day," said Darshan-Leitner in a recent interview. "In the Ulpana I learned values of leadership, social justice, and fortitude in the face of hardship, which I put into practice today in my professional work. I think that the nerve I have today to take on precedent-setting cases stems from my time at the Ulpana. At the time I wanted to become a doctor, but apparently the drive for seeking justice, and the oratory and debating skills I developed in high school led me to the Law profession instead."

The Israel Law Center has won judgements valued at over $1 billion against numerous banks financial institutions and countries for aiding and abetting Islamic and Arab groups engaged in terror attacks, and over $120 million in payments to victims of terror attacks. 

Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Yeshurun in Petach Tikvah
UBA Yeshurun joined the YBA educational network in 1978 and is the largest high school for girls in the network today with 1,300 students. 

View interview of Nitsana Darshan-Leiter in English on i24 News

Tikun Olam - UBA Orot Modiin student wins Volunteer of the Year Award

All 74 schools in the YBA Educational Network educate their students to put into practice the Jewish values of Tikun Olam and Gemilut Chasadim through weekly volunteer activities in the community, effectively improving the lives of thousands of needy Israelis of all ages.

UBA Orot Modiin senior, Carmel Amir
In Modiin, a growing young city in the heart of Israel, Mayor Haim Bibas has made a tradition of awarding certificates of appreciation to 15 twelfth graders each year recognizing them for their contributions to the community through their volunteer activities,with one of the 15 nominees being chosen for the Volunteer of the Year Award.

At the high-point of this years ceremony, attended by municipal officials, educators, family and friends of the nominees, Mayor Bibas announced that Carmel Amir (17), from Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Orot Modiin, was the 2015 winner of the coveted award. 

Carmel, who is also a leader in the local Israeli Scouts youth movement, was cited for her contribution to society for her leadership role for the past few years in the city's "Birthday Clowns" project. The project organizes and hosts birthday parties for children from needy families in cooperation with the municipality's welfare department.

Mayor Bibas praised Carmel as a worthy role model for her peers, who gives to others with all her heart. "I makes me feel proud to to be the mayor of a city that is blessed with so many youth who are imbued with the spirit of volunteerism. It begins in the home and extends to the values they learn in our schools. I want to thank our youth for all that they do for the benefit of the community."

Carmel Amir with her fellow "Birthday Clowns" volunteers
UBA Orot Modiin was established in 1998 as one of the first high schools in Modiin, and serves over 700 girls in grades 7 through 12 today. The school has won many awards, and is on the cutting edge of educational technology in Israel, with personal laptops for each student replacing traditional textbooks and paper-based homework assignments.

Learn more about the 74 schools in the YBA Educational Network by viewing the Interactive Map on our website. YBA - TRAINING ISRAEL'S FUTURE.

Harvey Krueger talks about why he supports YBA

Harvey Krueger will be receiving the Statesman Laureate Award at the 36th Annual AFYBA Scholarship and Tribute Gala on June 10th at Guastavino"s in NYC. Harvey is the Vice Chair of Barclays Capital, and a long-time supporter of YBA schools in Israel. Hear what he has to say about the YBA educational network in this one-minute video, and register for the Gala now!



Rabbi Drukman's Message to YBA Students on Yom Hazikaron 5775 (Hebrew)

"Where else does an entire nation stand at attention for two minutes to remember its fallen soldiers?" Rabbi Haim Drukman, Chairman of the YBA Educational Network in Israel, teaches us to appreciate the holiness of Yom Hazikaron.

Alumni Profile: State Attorney Shai NItzan, YBA Netiv Meir

State Attorney Shai Nitzan (photo: Dudi Vaaknin)
"A state where the prosecution can wage court cases against a former prime minister and treat him like an ordinary man, a state where the court convicts a former prime minister, is a state to be proud of," State Attorney Shai Nitzan said Monday, following former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's conviction in yet another corruption case.

Read the entire article by  Edna Adato and Israel Hayom Staff, from March 31, 2015.

"I am proud to head a prosecutorial body that has been able to bring a prime minister to justice," State Attorney Shai Nitzan says of Ehud Olmert's conviction • "No one is above the law or immune to the law regardless of their station in life," he says.

Read the entire article by  Edna Adato and Israel Hayom Staff, from April 2, 2015.

Training Israel's Future: How to Save a Life

Purim is usually associated with levity, silly costumes and partying. But for the girls at UBA Chen Bamidbar in Beer Sheva, the holiday this year was an opportunity to demonstrate their LEADERSHIP and SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, to raise over 40,000 shekels ($10,000) for 11-year old Ayala Shapira, a young victim of terror.


Terror Victim Ayala Shapira
Ayala was severely burned when a molotov cocktail (fire bomb) struck the car she was riding in with her father on December 25, 2014. Doctors succeeded in saving her life, but she is still facing many more months of rehabilitation and painful skin graft operations.

"About 3,000 people came out for the Purim carnival our students planned to benefit Ayala," said Rosh Ulpana, Rabbi Yoni Samuel. "It shows that people are thirsting for opportunities to do Chesed!" The ulpana campus was converted into a festive marketplace for the carnival, with local merchants and pizza parlors donating their wares, which added greatly to the event's profits. 

UBA Chen Bamidbar was founded in 1999 and serves about 550 girls in grades 7-12. While over half the school's students come from low income families and receive tuition reductions accordingly, over 80% complete full matriculation each year, paving the way to higher education and a better future.

Read more about Ayala Shapira
Top left: Netanya mayor, Miriam Fireberg with YBA Yad Avraham boys;
Bottom: Emily Schwartzman

In a similar story, the students of YBA Yad Avraham in Netanya last month succeeded in raising over 20,000 shekels ($5,000) in one night on behalf of Emily Schwartzman, a three and a half year old girl living in the city who is in need of a life-saving medical procedure in the US. 

In this instance, the students made an appeal for contributions over the PA system at the Netanya Stadium during a soccer match between Maccabi Netanya and Beitar Jerusalem, then spread out in the stands to “pass the hat” among the fans to donate their pocket change. Netanya Mayor Miriam Fireberg congratulated the boys for their initiative after the game.

YBA Yad Avraham was founded in 1960 and serves about 500 boys in grades 7-12. Over 88% complete full matriculation each year, and 100% serve in IDF combat units. Many of the school's alumni are leaders in their fields, including:
  • Prof. Yitzchak Kraus, President of Herzog College of Education
  • Rabbi Baruch Weider, Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivat Hesder Hakotel
  • Rabbi Yossi Stern, Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivat Hesder Akko
  • Elad Tshuva, Deputy Chairman of Delek Group
  • Yisrael Fried, CEO, Galei Zahal Radio
  • Yair Orbach, Stand-up Comedian
YBA Yad Avraham campus in Netanya
YBA: Training Israel's Future.

Talia Matzri elected chair of Petach Tikvah Youth Council

Talia Matzri
Talia Matzri, a 12th grade student at UBA Yeshurun in Petach Tikvah, was elected by 30 of her peers, representatives of all the secular and religious high schools in the city, to chair the municipality’s Youth Council.

Talia's election to a leadership position doesn't come as a surprise to her Rosh Ulpana, Rabbi Yaniv Cohen. "We set for ourselves a goal to give our students all the tools they need to develop personal excellence and leadership in every field, academically, spiritually, ethically and socially."

Petach Tikvah Mayor Itzik Braverman congratulated Talia saying, “Your work with the Youth Council is important, not only for the sake of our city’s youth, but also to ensure that they continue to be involved in social projects that improve our community and Israeli society.”

Ulpanat Yeshurun is the largest high school in the YBA network, with over 1,400 students. "Our students come from every ethnic group and social strata in Israeli society," says Rabbi Cohen. "We stress the Jewish and human values of accepting the other, mutual respect and social strength through diversity. We educate our girls to give of themselves, and they derive power and self awareness through their giving to others."

Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Yeshurun campus, Petach Tikvah

YBA students volunteer as Junior Fire Fighters

timesofisrael.com
 All YBA network schools put a heavy emphasis on extracurricular voluntary experiences in teaching the Jewish value of Tikun Olam as a fundamental part of Training Israel’s Future.™ 

Besides volunteering in soup kitchens, kindergartens, nursing homes and shelters, many of our students undergo rigorous training to become paramedic assistants or Civil Service volunteers to man Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulances and Israel Police patrols in their spare time.


Israeli Junior Firefighter Cadets (israel21c)
Now, for the first time, a group of twenty students from YBA TO”M at Moshav Herev Le’et, have completed an intensive training course as Junior Fire Fighters, and have begun volunteering at the nearby fire station in Hadera.

“These students in effect double the size of the force we can send out in case of emergency,” said Alexei Girsky, the volunteer coordinator for the Hadera Fire Department.

One of the students summed up the motivation of the entire group saying, “I think that fire fighters are true heroes. They have very important jobs; full of action and responsibility. I saw this as an opportunity for me to volunteer and make a significant contribution to society saving lives. That’s why I signed up for the training course.”

Mincha prayer services at YBA TO"M
The school name, YBA TO"M, stands for Torah u’Mada (Torah and Science). It was established in 1958 as an offshoot of the first Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school at nearby Moshav Kfar Haroeh, and over the years has served as a Youth Aliyah Village for new immigrant boys who were trained in the technical professions where they could make a contribution to society. Over 2,000 technically trained YBA TO”M graduates have helped make Israel the ‘start-up nation’ it is today.

The majority of today’s 280 students are immigrants from Ethiopia, while others include native Israelis and immigrants from the former Soviet Union, India and France. Students may choose from computer, electrical and mechanical engineering tracks.


View this Hebrew language video to see the YBA TO”M award-winning campus and program: