UBA

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.

YBA students take to the streets to boost the nation's morale

Stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks by Palestinians against Jews  - as many as four times a day - have left ten Israelis dead and over a hundred injured in the first half of October. While the Israel Police and Border Police seem to be on patrol nearly everywhere, the first-responders in most attacks were regular citizens who carry licensed pistols; and in most cases, the perpetrators were neutralized within minutes.

YBA students handing out free Israeli flags in Jerusalem
With no let-up in sight, the national mood has become increasingly one of caution and fear - just the purpose of such random acts of terror. But at YBA our answer to terrorism is simple: "Am Yisrael Chai!"

This week, YBA high school students fanned out all across Israel to help bolster the resilience of Israel's citizens. They filled traffic intersections in all the major cities waving flags, dancing and singling while handing out 20,000 Israeli flags and bumper stickers saying, "Be strong and we will be strengthened" and "An eternal nation has no fear of the long road ahead."

Students volunteered their free time for these activities out of a sense of social responsibility. "Raising the flag of Israel in these times sends a message to our enemies that we are not bowing to terror," said one student, "we are never going to leave Eretz Yisrael, and we are not afraid."

"Lots of drivers sound their car horns in support; others roll down their windows and yell 'kol hakavod!' ('Good job!') and many thank us," said another participant. "That's the proof that 'Am Yisrael Chai'."

Religious students in Israel are less proficient in English than their Secular peers

English week at Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Neria
A recently released study of the educational systems in Israel revealed that religious-Zionist high school graduates in Israel were less prepared for university-level English than their secular peers.

The study, conducted by Ariel Finkelstein for the 'Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah' religious-Zionist movement, was based on a sampling of psychometric exams for college entrance from the years 2000 to 2012. The findings were conclusive: religious students consistently scored 11 and 15 points below secular students in English proficiency, while on par or better than their secular peers in every other subject.

YBA Educational Network
Director General Elchanan Glatt
"To some extent this is understandable, given the extra hours and emphasis on Jewish Studies in religious schools that doesn't exist in secular schools," said Elchanan Glatt, the Director General of the Yeshivot Bnei Akiva Educational Network in Israel, "still, these findings are worrisome for religious Zionist educators. Perhaps in the past some elements in the religious Zionist public saw the study of foreign languages as unimportant. But that worldview is no longer relevant. Today it is clear to everyone that speaking a foreign language fluently, especially English, is an essential part of a high-quality education."

Glatt pointed to two graduates of YBA high schools as personal examples: Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipy Hotovely and Minister of Education Naftali Bennett. "Today's generation sees YBA graduates in the Knesset, and eloquently presenting Israel's case in English in the international media, and they understand the importance of English. They know that English is the international language in computer sciences, medicine, physics and every other scientific field, including the social sciences such as sociology or history."

Glatt stressed that the YBA educational network was taking the findings seriously and working to close the gaps in English proficiency. YBA created a new position for a network-wide English Instruction Supervisor to advise schools on how they can improve. In-service training programs are being planned for English teachers, and measurable benchmark goals are being set for each school. "The process should take two years to fully implement before we will be able to see quantifiable results," he said. "The improvement won't come at the expense of our Jewish Studies program. We have enough hours for English lessons, we just have to invest in making those hours as effective and productive as possible."

YBA dedicates 5 new school buildings in Yehuda and Shomron - Israel's Heartland

Elchanan Glatt addressing crowd at
YBA Ma'arav Shomron
The Yeshivot Bnei Akiva educational network is not willing to even think about a building freeze in Judea and Samaria. In fact, the YBA schools in Yehuda and Shomron are undergoing a construction boom like YBA hasn't known for many years.

Last week, over 3,000 people joined YBA in Elkana to dedicate a new campus for the YBA Ma'arav Shomron boy's yeshiva high school.  The event was attended by the mayor of Elkana, Asaf Mintzer, and featured a love performance by singer Avraham Fried.
This week, the opening week of the  5776 school year, featured many other dedication ceremonies:


The new campus of YBA Orot Yehuda in Efrat was dedicated on Sunday, with videotaped greetings from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and the Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky. On hand were the mayor of Efrat, Oded Ravivi, and the General Director of the YBA Educational Network, Elchanan Glatt, who couldn't contain his excitement as he spoke in front of the thousands of well wishers in attendance.
At the same time, in the presence of the Minister Uri Ariel and YBA officials, a new dormitory facility was being dedicated at the UBA Shirat Hayam Ulpana High School of the Arts for girls in Neve Tzuf.
Meanwhile, the YBA Sussya Yeshiva High School for Environmental Studies was not satisfied with dedicating a new dormitory last week, so it broke ground immediately afterward for the construction of an additional dormitory building there.
Finally, later in the week YBA Mateh Binyamin in Beit El also dedicated a new dormitory building for its many students in the residential track.
Elchanan Glatt: "Yeshivot Bnei Akiva has taken off on a period of unprecedented growth, expansion and excellence. We are proud of our educational path, and proud to be part of the continuing settlement movement throughout the entire Land of Israel."
Yossi Dagan, the mayor of the Shomron Regional Council welcomed the building boom and said: "Naturally, the communal and spiritual atmosphere in the Shomron is conducive for educating students toward Jewish values and connection to the Land of Israel. We congratulate YBA on this building boom, and wish all the schools much success in training our children toward excellence and Jewish values."

There are 74 educational institutions in the YBA network in Israel, including 15 in Yehuda and Shomron ensuring high quality education in Israel's heartland.

CLICK HERE to view an interactive map of YBA schools in Israel.

Yeshivot Bnei Akiva: Training Israel's Future.

How Israeli students learn to love the Land of Israel

Rahavam 'Gandi' Ze'evi
Two students from Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Even Shmuel received the 2015 Ministry of Education Ze’evi Award for Excellence in Land of Israel Studies. The prize is named after Israeli war hero and MK, Rahavam Ze'evi ("Gandi"), who was assassinated by a terrorist in 2001. Ze'evi was known for his patriotism, deep love for the Land of Israel and strongly nationalistic political views.

Hila Itam and Herut Yered submitted a research paper exploring the reasons why the Jordanian Legion’s officers allowed their soldiers to participate in the massacre of Jewish residents and Hagana fighters following the surrender of Kfar Etzion on the eve of Israel’s independence in 1948.

'Gandi' with troops during 1956 Sinai Campaign
Hila explained that she chose the subject because her great grandmother served in the Hagana with Rahavam Ze'evi, and at that time she was the radio operator in Jerusalem who received the final message – “the queen has fallen” – from the fighters defending Kfar Etzion till their last bullet was spent.

UBA Even Shmuel was established by the Shafir Regional Council in 1979 as a residential high school to serve girls from the religious moshavim (agricultural settlements) in the northern Negev region. Today the school serves 420 students in grades 7-12, and attracts students from all over Israel due to the many awards it has earned over the years for academic excellence.

UBA Kfar Pines students take third prize in national Ecological Studies competition

Two students from UBA Kfar Pines, Shira Algavish and Leah Ifargan, won third place in a national competition for Ecological Studies sponsored by the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Their study focused on the application of biological pest control in agriculture as an alternative to the more commonly used chemical solutions.

“Our girls come to the ulpana with a lot of positive attributes,” said the project’s coordinator at the ulpana, Mrs. Michal Kinnerti, “I’m proud that our school succeeds in bringing out their inner potential for excellence.”

UBA Kfar Pines was established in 1960 as the first ulpana girl's high school in the YBA educational network. The school was unique at that time for its combination of high-level Torah and secular studies for girls in a residential framework, modeled after the YBA yeshiva high schools for boys. Today the school serves over 450 students from all parts of the state.


View Promo Video of 2014 'Rabbanit Week' at UBA Kfar Pines


2 UBA Segula seniors earn Advanced Placement B.A. degrees

Two twelfth-grade students from UBA Segula, Tzofia Ronen and Moriah Ben-Sassoon, earned B.A. degrees in Computer Sciences from the University of Haifa while still in the twelfth grade through the university’s Etgar Program, which offers highly motivated and achievement oriented high school students extracurricular advanced placement courses leading to college degrees.

Ruchama Hazut, the ulpana’s principal, said, “It inspires pride and admiration to see our students achieve so much academically, while maintaining their humility, good nature and religious beliefs.”

UBA Segula in Kiryat Motzkin was founded in 1965 as the YBA network's third ulpana high school for girls. Today the school serves over 525 students from the Haifa region and entire northern half of Israel.

View video of UBA Segula's 2014 'March of the Living' Tour of Poland

Six YBA students win academic scholarships

The Neve Sha’anan College in Haifa granted full academic scholarships toward earning a B.A. degree to six girls in the YBA network: Noa Attias, Sapir Amar and Sapir Simchi from UBA Or Akiva, and Chen Cohen, Tehila Maman and Tiferet Shimeon from UBA Meron.
Tehila Maman
Tiferet Shimeon
Chen Cohen













“We pride ourselves with giving each and every girl the attention and support she needs in order to bring out her full potential for excellence, with openness, dialogue and love,” said the Rosh Ulpana of UBA Or Akiva, Mrs. Bilha Bussi, in congratulating her students for their accomplishments.

UBA Meron was established in 1975 and serves over 315 students from the towns and settlements in the Galilee, while UBA Or Akiva was established 25 years later, in 2000, and serves today 111 students for the town of Or Akiva and the surrounding area.
 
View video of 2014 Elul activities at UBA Meron
 

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.

UBA Meron students win first place in national Robotics competition

Four seventh grade girls from Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Meron took first place in a national Robotics competition the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) and sponsored by the Ministry of Science, Space and Technology. The four are Tikva Weiner, Hadar Sofer, Shirel Cohen and Niria Zinner.

UBA Meron Robotics Team receiving prize
from Minister Danny Danon
Over 300 junior high school students from over 100 schools participated in the annual nationwide competition. This year's challenge was particularly difficult. the teams of students had to program three different robots to fulfill three distinct roles and interact with each other. One robot was a car, another a pedestrian and the third a stoplight. The students had to program the robots so that the car moving along a road would stop at the red stop light or when approaching the pedestrian, and start again when the light turned green or the pedestrian had passed. The team succeeding in the shortest time was the winner.

Science, Space and Technology Minister Danny Danon, was very pleased that the competition was won by a group of girls. "One of the main goals I set for myself upon entering the ministry was to significantly increase the number of girls studying the physical sciences at the junior high and high school level," he said. In congratulating the winners, the minister stressed the importance of such competitions in sparking the imagination and creativity of young students, as Robotics promises to be the dominant field of research and economic growth for the future.

UBA Meron was established in 1975 a short distance from the YBA Bar Yochai yeshiva high school for boys, at Moshav Meron in the Upper Galilee, where the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai is located. The ulpana serves over 300 girls, mostly from towns and agricultural settlements in northern Israel. The ruins of the ancient town of Meron, mentioned in the Book of Joshua, are located just above the moshav on the southern slope of Mount Meron,

To learn more about our schools visit the interactive map of YBA institutions in Israel on our website.

UBA Neve Ruchama founder, Cissie Chalkowsky, to receive "Yakir Jerusalem" Award

Ulpanat Neve Ruchama founder,
Cissie Chalkowsky
On Yom Yerushalayim next week, Mayor Nir Barkat will award the Jerusalem Municipality's annual Yakir Yerushalayim Prize to Mrs. Cecilia (Cissie) Chalkowsky (78). As a veteran educator in Jerusalem, Cissie has brought many educational innovations and initiatives to the city, most prominently, the girls' high school, Ulpanat Neve Ruhama, which introduced new teaching methods for learning disabilities into Israeli education world.

Cissie was born in Chicago, Illinois and from the age of 15 was active in the religious Zionist Bnei Akiva youth movement. She immigrated to Israel in 1958 and studied sociology and education at the Hebrew University, and worked as the original dorm counselor at the first Ulpanat Bnei Akiva in Kfar Pines.

After graduating she established the religious studies track at the Beer Sheva Comprehensive High School, and later became the first dormitory director at Ulpanat "Horev" in Jerusalem. In 1983 she founded Ulpanat Neve Ruhama in Jerusalem, which became the address for teen girls who suffered from severe learning disabilities. Cissie ran the school until her retirement in 2011, and over the years the school earned the nickname "Ulpanat Cissie."

In 2008, in preparation for her retirement, Cissie asked the YBA educational network to take over the educational and financial management of the school, to assure that her life's work would continue to thrive. Today, UBA Neve Ruchama serves 266 girls in grades 7-12 from Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Since retiring Cissie has engaged in voluntary educational activities in the various sectors.


3 YBA Grads Received the President's IDF Citation for Excellence on Yom Ha'atzmaut

Lt. Daniela Hangal
Lt. Daniela Hangal, graduate of UBA Tzfira

Lt. Daniela Hangal (22), a graduate of UBA Tzfira at Moshav Tzafaria, was the third graduate of the YBA educational network to be awarded the IDF Citation for Excellence by President Reuven Rivlin in the Yom Haatzmaut ceremony this year.

The other two were Lt. Shaked Ben-Shoshan, a graduate of UBA Segula in Kiryat Motzkin and Cpl.Ori Cohen, a graduate of YBA Hadarom in Rehovot. 

Lt. Daniela Hangal has been serving in the IDF for the past three and a half years. She is a company commander in the IDF Home Front Command's Tabor Brigade - the army's emergency search and rescue unit.

"In twelfth grade, when the time came to choose between IDF service or non-military National Service, most of the girls chose National Service for religious reasons. But I always knew that I wanted to serve in the army,' said Daniela. "It was important to me to do something substantial in the army. I always imagined myself in uniform."

Substantial indeed! Lt. Daniela is the commanding officer of a combat unit made up of mainly male soldiers. "I trained these soldiers in boot camp and in their search and rescue course, and now I am their commander. I am like their Mother and Father. I have to worry about the personal problems of each of them, no matter how small. Still, I don't let my gender interfere with my duties. If any of my soldiers thought it was weird having a female company commander, they quickly learned that there is no difference at all."

Hangal's advice for other religious girls thinking about joining the army: "In the final analysis, if you have the motivation and drive to do something significant to contribute to Israel, and you love the Land of Israel, you can go far in the army. I think that I am living proof of that."

Lt. Shaked Ben-Shoshan, graduate of UBA Segula
UBA Segula graduate,
Lt. Shaked Ben-Shoshan
Another of the 120soldiers  this year was Lt. Shaked Ben-Shoshan (22), from Kiryat Bialik and a graduate of Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Segula in Kiryat Motzkin.

Shaked serves in the physically challenging IDF Field Intelligence Unit. 
IDF Field Intelligence soldiers in full field camouflage
"Our job is to sit on the border with Egypt and Jordan and collect intelligence from the field. It involves laying in the open for many hours at a time under the highest level of field camouflage, in order to gather the most accurate information possible to protect our borders," Shaked explained.

The IDF Spokesman's Office related that Shaked was chosen for the honor due to the long record of citations of excellence she has earned from her commanding officers throughout her army career. "I was surprised to be chosen," she said, "because most of the soldiers chosen had fought in last summer's Operation Protective Edge or for an exceptional act of bravery. I didn't participate in the operation, so I didn't expect to be chosen."

Kiryat Bialik Mayor Eli Dokorski called Shaked to congratulate her on being chosen and thanked her for the honor she brought to the city of Kiryat Bialik, saying that she was "an exemplary and significant product of religious Zionism, imbued with a sense of purpose and determination."

Shaked is in line to be promoted to the Deputy Commander of her unit in August. YBA and AFYBA salute you, Shaked!


Cpl. Ori Cohen with his parents
Cpl. Ori Cohen, 20, from Rehovot, was also among the 120 Israeli soldiers to be honored for excellence at the annual Independence Day ceremony at the President's Residence on Yom Haatzmaut. Cohen was born with cerebral palsy and fought hard to be accepted as a volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces.

For Cohen, the youngest son of Sigal and Yitzhak Cohen and brother to Mor, 27, and Shir, 24, reaching this moment was a struggle.

"This honor belongs above all to my friends in the army and to my commanders, who accept me as an equal," he said, "They don't make any assumptions, they simply listen and help me. I am very excited, of course. I was surprised to be receiving this honor, but it seems that my work was recognized by my superiors and they appreciate me, so I am happy."

Cohen serves as a network administrator at the computer support center in the GOC's C41 Corps. His job is to solve network problems. "I did not have prior knowledge, but I learned on the job," he said.

His parents take him to and from his base, where he gets around using a walker or a wheelchair.
"My parents' and my family's devotion pushed me forward, and this is the right opportunity to thank them," Cohen said.

"Another thing that helped me make the decision to serve and to contribute were my studies at the yeshiva of Rabbi Haim Drukman [the head of the YBA educational network and Bnei Akiva youth movement]. I am proud to be fulfilling not only my civic duty, but also my religious and national duties, as that is an important value in the Torah."

According to Cohen, his "minor disability" does not stop him from excelling at his work in the army. "I am not different, despite the wheelchair," he said. "I am a regular person in every way, and even in the moments when I am alone and I think about it, I do not feel different. I don't think about the difficulties for a even a minute.

"I came to the base every day, even during Operation Protective Edge, when there were sirens and rockets. I am very happy with my job, and lately, I have been thinking quite a bit about continuing to serve in the army [in the long term]. "It was important to me to join the army, since that is a value I was raised with. Everyone in my family served, and I knew that I too would be drafted, despite the situation."

"At both my high school yeshiva [YBA Hadarom, Rechovot] and army preparatory yeshiva [YBA Mechinat Kiryat Malachi], I was taught to love our country, and part of that means contributing and serving in the IDF. I taught the same thing to my groups during the two years that I was a Bnei Akiva youth leader. It wasn't easy, but I made my dream come true. I never had any doubt that I would be in the army."

YBA Alumni Profiles: Lt. Shaked Ben-Shoshan, UBA Segula, Kiryat Motzkin

UBA Segula graduate,
Lt. Shaked Ben-Shoshan
Last week, on Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin awarded the President's Citation for Excellence to 120 IDF soldiers chosen from among thousands of soldiers nominated for the honor by their commanding officers.

One of the 120 this year was Lt. Shaked Ben-Shoshan (22), from Kiryat Bialik and a graduate of Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Segula in Kiryat Motzkin.

Shaked serves in the physically challenging IDF Field Intelligence Unit.
IDF Field Intelligence soldiers in full field camouflage
"Our job is to sit on the border with Egypt and Jordan and collect intelligence from the field. It involves laying in the open for many hours at a time under the highest level of field camouflage, in order to gather the most accurate information possible to protect our borders," Shaked explained.

The IDF Spokesman's Office related that Shaked was chosen for the honor due to the long record of citations of excellence she has earned from her commanding officers throughout her army career. "I was surprised to be chosen," she said, "because most of the soldiers chosen had fought in last summer's Operation Protective Edge or for an exceptional act of bravery. I didn't participate in the operation, so I didn't expect to be chosen."

Kiryat Bialik Mayor Eli Dokorski called Shaked to congratulate her on being chosen and thanked her for the honor she brought to the city of Kiryat Bialik, saying that she was "an exemplary and significant product of religious Zionism, imbued with a sense of purpose and determination."

Shaked is in line to be promoted to the Deputy Commander of her unit in August. YBA and AFYBA salute you, Shaked!



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.

Yom Hazikaron begins at sundown tonight

IDF Yom Hazikaron Opening Ceremony at the Kotel
On this day we honor the memory of 483 graduates of th Yeshivot Bnei Akiva educational network in Israel who gave their lives as Kiddush Hashem in the defence of Am Yisrael, Torat Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael.

In the past 67 years since the founding of the State of Israel, 407 YBA Torah Warriors fell in the line of duty in the IDF, and 76 more YBA students and graduates were murdered in terror actions against Israeli civilians.


Victims of Fallen IDF
YBA Institution Terror Soldiers Total
YBA Kfar Haroeh 6 82 88
YBA Yavneh, Haifa 1 43 44
YBA Or Etzion, Merkaz Shapira 8 35 43
YBA Netiv Meir, Jerusalem 2 39 41
YBA Nachal Yitzchak, Nechalim 8 26 34




YBA Givat Shmuel - 23 23
YBA Yad Avraham, Netanya 3 17 20
YBA Pirchei Aharon, Kiryat Shmuel 1 18 19
YBA Raanana 16 16
Yeshivat Hesder Hagolan, Hispin 7 9 16
YBA Beit Shmuel, Hadera 2 13 15
Yeshivat Hesder Or Etzion, Kiryat Shmuel 7 8 15
YBA Hadarom, Rehovot
YBA Neve Herzog, Nir Galim
-
1
13
11
13
12
YBA Hashomron, Karnei Shomron 8 4 12
YBA Ohel Shlomo, Beer Sheva 10 10
YBA Beit Yehuda, Kfar Maimon 2 7 9
Yeshivat Hesder Hakotel, Jerusalem 9 9
YBA Mateh Binyamin, Beit El 6 6
YBA Bar Yochai, Meron 2 3 5
UBA Tzfira, Tzafaria 5 5
Yeshivat Hesder Maale Yitzchak, Maalot 2 3 5
YBA TO"M, Herev Le'et 4 4
YBA Kiryat Herzog, Bnei Brak 1 3 4
Orot Israel College of Education 3 3
Yeshivat Hesder Neve Dekalim, Ashdod 2 1 3
UBA Neot Avraham, Arad 2 2
YBA Tikvat Yaakov, Sde Yaakov 1 1
YBA Aderet, Bat Yam 1 1
YBA Ner Tamid, Hashmonaim 1 1
YBA Beit Shean 1 1
YBA Sussya 1 1
UBA Amana, Kfar Saba 1 1
UBA Even Shmuel
Yeshivat Hesder Akko
-
1
1
1
1
Total 76 407 483

HOT AND MODEST FASHION - Kosher or Oxymoron?


Sde Bar Fashion’s
Avitan, Cohen and Elbaz
(photo: Studio Nehora)
YBA Alumni Profiles: ‘Necessity is the Mother of Invention’ at the Mother of all Ulpanot, UBA Kfar Pines

There are those who will claim that designing fashionable frocks for religious women is somewhat akin to trying to prepare fine French cuisine while adhering to the laws of Kosher - it just can't be done. But there is a growing number of young religious designers who are making the restrictions of modesty increasingly irrelevant.

The Sde Bar Fashion brand has been popular among girls in the religious Zionist sector for almost five years now. The brand has its own retail store on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem and is available at a handful of fashion boutiques around the country. 

But its collection is mainly marketed through Tupperware-style fashion parties hosted by women in communities with large religious populations, or through direct orders from the brand’s Facebook page. Over 4,500 Friends on Facebook flood the company with requests to host sales parties all over the country, and with fashion questions on the latest styles and trends.

The brand was founded in 2010 by Ariella Avitan from Moshav Nir Galim near Ashdod, Adi Cohen from the settlement of Beit El and Shuli Elbaz, who lives in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. The three 24 year-old entrepreneurs have been girlfriends since they met in high school at UBA Ramat Karniel at Moshav Kfar Pines.  The school was the first residential Bnei Akiva Ulpana high school for girls, founded in 1960, and is considered the prototype “Mother of all Ulpanot” in Israel. Today the school continues to maintain its reputation as one of the finest schools in the country, serving over 450 girls from all parts of Israel in grades 9-12.

(photo: Studio Nehora)
"Usually secular designers don’t think about modesty," says Avitan. "I remember once the three of us went shopping before one holiday to buy a nice new outfit - but the fashion stores had nothing that would meet our requirements for modesty: cover the knees, elbows, not too exposed, or too tight. So we started to make clothes for ourselves with the school’s sewing machine in our free time. Very quickly we started selling outfits to the other girls at the Ulpana as well."

The Sde Bar collection is a romantic-rustic style that hits the spot for a large part of the young religious population in Israel. The outfits have been seen on Yifat, the religious graphic designer character on the “Srugim" TV series and on Anhal Shmueli (Shoshi), from the “Race to the Million" reality show. Pastel romantic dresses with lace lines sprouting from the cleavage, and a layered appearance of a jumper over a three quarter length shirt sleeve.

"Fashion is part of our culture, but while a religious style has already been defined in Israeli music, culture and film – I feel that there is no defined religious style in fashion," says Avitan. "At Sde Bar we are trying to create fashion that is influenced by our way of life. We produce one collection per season, but I'm always surprised to find that women in each sub-segment acquire the things that fit their particular style. For example, girls from religious kibbutzim choose other colors than girls from Ra’anana. Even the way they layer their clothing differs; our line appears as if we sewed the garments especially for them. In Nir Galim the women buy a lot of Aladdin-style baggy pants, something the women in Jerusalem will not buy. "

(photo: Studio Nehora)
Adi Cohen adds: “Today religious girls have created a fashion which consists of mixing styles. In our mothers’ generation girls had to wear one layer on top of another to be modest. There just was no supply of fashionable clothes for religious women. Our generation has rebelled against that - we want to wear something designed especially for us."

Although the three owners/designers define Sde Bar as a brand dedicated to the religious niche, they are also targeting secular women. The collection includes several items that would not be considered within the accepted bounds of modesty required by religious women; for example, sleeveless dresses with cleavage, or wide necklines.  "It’s difficult to produce a modest garment without compromises in the necklines and sleeves and be beautiful at the same time," says Shuli Elbaz. "As a brand, we have to produce a variety of garments to appeal to a wide audience of women. We bring a special kind of look; romantic, softer, more feminine."

Sde Bar Fashion will participate in this month’s "Pomp and Circumstance Dressed" Fashion Fair aimed at women of the religious community (March 11-13 at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, March 20-23 at the Wohl Auditorium at Bar Ilan University, and March 23-24 at the Kastera Shopping Center in Haifa).


Portions of this article were originally published in Hebrew on xnet.ynet.co.il.  

YBA Alumna Profile: Neta Ariel, Woman of the Year

Neta Ariel (Kolnoa)
Neta Ariel,  Director of the Ma'aleh Film school and a graduate of Ulpanat Bnei Akiva (UBA) Segula in Kiryat Motzkin, was recently chosen as the 'Woman of the Year' by the Emunah Womens' Organization in Israel. Ma'aleh is the only film school in the world that trains filmmakers from the standpoint of Jewish tradition. The school's graduates have won numerous artistic and technical accolades, both in Israel and abroad.

After completing her IDF service in the framework of a "Garin Nachal" at Kibbutz Yavne, Neta went on to receive a BA in political science and theater studies at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. She also studied Communications at Hebrew University and Directing and Producing through the Open University.

Neta began her career as an investigative reporter for the Israel Broadcast Authority Channel 1 News. Later, she founded, edited and wrote for the "Gushpanka" regional journal of Gush Etzion, and wrote and published a children's book: The Gift Child (Yediot Ahronot).


At the award ceremony held on International Women's Day (March 1), Emunah's chairwoman, Leora Minka, said of Neta, "You are a ground breaker. For a long time religious Zionists were under-represented in the arts and culture in Israel. But thanks to your work at Ma'aleh, all that is changing. We are seeing the fruits of your labor in the television and film productions by Ma'aleh graduates. We now see that it is possible to take an active creative role in the cultural life of Israel and still remain true to our Torah values."

Neta Ariel started working at Ma'aleh in 1995 as assistant director and academic director, and has been serving as Ma'aleh's director since 2001. 

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.