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SASI: Opportunities in Jerusalem

L-R: SASI Committee members Dave Bloom (Chairman), Dana Levy-Tavor, Dorron Kline, Steve Handler, Mel Cohen and Sid Shapiro with Bracha Singer (2nd left)

In April, the SASI Committee (Southern Africans Studying in Israel) visited two academic institutions in Jerusalem to explore options available to international SA students. The SASI Academic Programme is a new initiative run by Telfed and endorsed by The Eric and Sheila Samson Foundation and Chairman of the United Jewish Campaign, Philip Krawitz. The programme facilitates (needs based) financial/social support to assist South African students to complete an internationally recognized university degree in Israel in English.  As part of the social programme, students also undertake 90 hours of community service, giving back to Israeli society. First on the agenda was a meeting with the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University. This was followed by a visit to the Lev Academic Center – Jerusalem College of Technology.

Affordability is an important factor in deciding to study at an overseas university. Thus, discussions at HBU began with this topic. HBU sent high level representatives to meet with the SASI Committee, including Jonathan Kaplan  (Vice-Provost), Maor Rodman (Marketing Director), Temima Kleid (Academic Advisor for English speaking students of the Preparatory Program), Luba Glikin (Administrative Director of the Preparatory Program), Fabio Redak (Academic Director of the Preparatory Program) and Evan Gewirtz (Madrich for the Preparatory Program).

The HBU representatives introduced the one year Mechina Programme. This programme allows for intensive Hebrew immersion, and provides an introduction to academic studies in Hebrew. The Mechina Programme caters to high school graduates from abroad, including discharged immigrant soldiers who wish to pursue undergraduate studies in Israel, but who do not qualify for direct admission to a Hebrew University degree programme. Successful completion of the Mechina Programme will help improve Southern African students' chances of admission to the prestigious Hebrew University, as well as to other institutions of higher education in Israel.

Evan Gewirtz, madrich for the Preparatory Program, told us about the amazing student life on the HBU campus. HBU is there to provide international students with the ultimate Mechina or BASIS experience. The University's Student Life Department arranges trips, activities, and social events that will enhance the year at the Rothberg International School from a social and cultural perspective. In addition to organizing fun and memorable experiences, they also help students adjust to life in Israel and on the University campus.

Bracha Singer is a SASI student completing her Mechina year. She said that "with all of the struggles of coming to a new place, culture and not having the language, I feel I made the right decision, especially studying in Hebrew! HBU's campus and student life coordinator's gave me a sense of family and support".

Following the meeting at HBU, the SASI Committee visited Lev Academic Center- Jerusalem College of Technology for a round table meeting with faculty members. Representatives from Lev Academic Center included Adv. Stuart Hershkowitz (Vice President), Prof. Abba Engelberg (Head of the English Speakers Program), Prof. Shlomo Engelberg (Dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science), Mr. Adi Yonas (Coordinator for First Year Students and for Ethiopian Students) and Mr. Gabi Krauss (Director of Development).

Stuart Hershkowitz shared information on the two main fields of study for an undergraduate degree: Computer Science and Business Administration. The Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) – Lev Academic Center is the second largest academic institution in Jerusalem. It specializes in high-tech engineering, computer science, industrial management and health sciences, combined with a Jewish studies program. JCT’s mission is to produce leaders who are strongly committed to Israel, to Jerusalem and to Jewish values.

For students who are seeking a religious academic environment, Machon Lev's programmes center around daily Jewish learning.  Religious teaching ranges from Talmud, Bible and Practical Halacha to Mussar, Torah and Science and Jewish Business Ethics.

The SASI committee is excited to partner with these academic institutions in Jerusalem. Telfed looks forward to welcoming more Southern African students in Israel.

For more information, contact Simone Pikas

Representatives from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem with Telfed's SASI Committee


Telfed's SASI Committee with delegates from Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) – Lev Academic Center

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