“Alma” the pre-military preparatory program for female leadership which is operating in Ofakim, winner of the Moscowitz Prize for Zionism and winner of the Jewish Agency’s education competition, supported by the Spirit of Israel, designated for grade 12 graduates from all Israeli social classes, with an emphasis on young women with great leadership potential who come from the socio-economic and geographic periphery of the State of Israel.
To Build and be Built
The purpose of this innovative program is to help the student participants to choose a unique path for themselves, with awareness and faithfulness to personal identity. Moreover, the program encourages the girls to discover their raw potential, and guides them to live a meaningful life, one of free choice and taking responsibility.
Graduates of the program will embark on an independent path while they are fortified with a sense of high competence, the joy of accomplishment and a real passion to live a life of fulfillment.
The preparatory program, now in its third year of operation, is based in Ofakim and is opening its gates for 33 girls from all over Israel, mostly from youth villages and the economic-geographical periphery of Israel. All the girls who are accepted into the preparatory program are endowed with potential and have fire in their eyes, with the readiness and courage to change and be changed, to build and be built.
Following the success of the Alma program in the two previous cycles, the preparatory program doubled its activities for this year and is operating in two houses in Ofakim with cooperation between the two groups.
The Alma program is built of three phases and has far reaching goals in terms of the required length of time for achieving these goals. The first phase lasts six months in which the girls live in the Ofakim program site and undergo an intensive and diverse scholastic program under full boarding school conditions. The second phase runs for two years, comprising a full and meaningful military service. The third and final phase is spread out over a number of months, during which the graduates undergo a program that supports their transition to civilian life, integration into the employment market and pursuit of a higher education.
The Melody is Still Playing
Two years ago the first cycle of Alma was launched. Since then the second phase of the preparatory program has been completed and now the third phase is underway.
The girls in the third cycle, who are now taking their first steps, expect an experience that will bring about in their lives. The cycle is spread out over half a year filled with good things: starting with field trips and excursions to familiarize themselves with the land of Israel, though diverse community activities and other exciting meetings with inspirational women and many more humane activities and gatherings with the breadth of the mind, heart and the horizon.
The preparatory program was initiated by Attorney Michal Barkai, and impressive and inspirational woman in her own right.
Prayer upon Embarking on a Journey
While the girls in the third cycle are taking their first hesitant steps on their path, the graduates of Alma are already making an impression in many diverse ways: The first cycle prides itself with the first Alma officer, who recently took under her wing a graduate who is presently completing an officers training course for the Adjutant Corps and will soon be positioned close to the preparatory program, and mainly close to our hearts. The first two officers, graduates of the founders’ cycle, are joined by graduates of the second cycle, some of whom already have impressive ranks: Educational Commander, Base Squad Commander, External Communications Unit Commander, Service Conditions Commander and more.
Recently a number of graduates received honorary decorations and ribbons for excellence from senior IDF Commanders. Next year some of the graduates will be integrated in training roles in Alma, and in this way they will chart the path for their successors – the girls in the 4th cycle.
It is known that you can’t argue with success, so we can only give our blessings and wish for continued success, for those who are already proudly and confidently on their way and mainly for those who are just embarking on their journey.
Whoever and wherever they are, we wish them all success.