BEN SHEMEN YOUTH VILLAGE
Our experience shows that children who are involved in enrichment activities, have more self-confidence and as they are involved, they are less likely to misbehave, are move valued by their peers, are more likely to find friends with similar interests, and more. Even more interesting, is that their success in these various activities is reflected in improved educational achievements in school.
The therapeutic qualities of playing music, singing or listening to music have been gradually gaining recognition in recent years. Yet, most of the village’s students have never had the opportunity to participate in music activities. They come from backgrounds where educational/cultural enrichment was simply not an option for them.
At Ben Shemen, we believe that music is a therapeutic outlet for self-expressionand is an outlet for our students’ creative energy and potential. Therefore, weestablished a music center in the village, where the students are able to acquiremusical education and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of music.
Each year, approximately 70 children ages 12-18 take either private or groupslessons and participate in different ensembles. Each child receives an hour ofweek of instruction. Today the children play guitar, bass guitar, drums, pianocontra bass, electric organ and informally form small ensembles. Although theinstruction is offered to children of all ages, most of the children studying musicare at least 12.
For many years, the pupils of Ben Shemen have excelled at folk dancing and in recent years in Hip Hop as well. Our pupils have an opportunity to participate in a number of different dance classes and their work is presented at our annual Shavuot celebration.
Our farm has a large stables, which our pupils find very attractive and is a unique meeting place for them. Professional instruction is provided to interested pupils on a regular basis.
Interest in cooking is growing worldwide, and so is the interest of our pupils. Our cooking classes integrate the Village’s catering staff in giving instruction to our pupils with delicious results!
Ben Shemen offers its pupils the opportunity to participate in a number of different army preparation programs:
Shaldag, involves the adoption by an army unit of particular class which they then work with for a three year period. The program includes development of the pupil’s relationship to their locality, the country and to the IDF. This program has been operating in the Village for six years.
Acharai, prepares pupils for army service including assisting them by getting into physical shape along with other topics. The program has been operating in the Village for five years, and 100% of the participants have joined the IDF.
Likratech, is a program designed to prepare young women for service in the IDF and operates in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Rural and Youth Aliyah Administration.
Pupils have access to two computer labs, three times a week, for both assignments and personal use.
The Village develops unique empowerment groups based on pupil’s age and their needs. This year we are operating two groups on sexual health, a group of University students are working with 7th and 8th grade girls, a group for 9th and 10th grade boys focusing on self-image, and a psycho-drama group that focuses on social skills for 9th and 10th grade pupils.
This project taps into the widespread appeal of internet, technology, and video games to actively engage Israeli and Palestinian youth in peacebuilding activities. Youth are empowered to analyze the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, to consider the situation faced by the "other side" and to break down misconceptions and stereotypes of the "other" in order to deal with issues that concern all youth, regardless of religion or nationality.
This peace education program, based on the PeaceMaker© game developed by ImpactGames, allows players to take on the role of Palestinian or Israeli leaders in order to solve the conflict through tools such as diplomacy, infrastructural development and more. Through educational workshops implemented in Israeli and Palestinian high schools, participants analyze the complex reality of this region and understand the constraints and obstacles facing each society.
Peacemakers is a program of the Peres Center for Peace.
The Fitness Center
The Fitness Center at the Village, recently refurbished by our alumnus, David Vered, is a very popular place for both boys and girls. It attracts everyone - from those just looking to improve their physical appearance to those interested in serving in combat units. Approximately 30% of our graduates serve in combat units; many of these units require a high level of physical fitness and acceptance to these units is dependent on passing strenuous physical fitness tests. Pupils often workout in the Fitness Center three times a week. Those who do, not only improve their appearance, but also their self-esteem, and many serve as a personal example for others. The Fitness Center is also used extensively by our Sprinting Team and by those students studying for matriculation exams in physical education.
The Village offers pupils a number of different martial arts classes according to interest and demand. These currently include: a survival class, Capuera, Judo and more.
Ben Shemen offers an excellence program in judo for boys and girls within our boarding school framework.
Our leading judo coach is Mr. Alex Ashkanazi, the man who was the personal coach of olympic medalist Arik Ze'evi. Mr. Ashkanazi will be working with our pupils individually and in small groups.
The Village provides the athletes with everything they need including access to specalized training sessions and competions. This program is lead and funded by the nonprofit for Olympic Excellence in Sport headed by Arik Ze'evi.
The village offers pupils opportunities to participate with sports teams in conjunction with local organizations. This currently includes basketball teams in conjunction with Elitzur Ramle, and soccer teams in conjunction with the Hevel Modi’in Regional Council.