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Overseas Supplemental Giving/IEF

Cornerstone Laid for Ayalim's Yitzchak
Shavit Student Village in Ofakim


May, 2011

Ayalim

On Wednesday, May 11, Jewish Agency officials and other dignitaries
came together in Ofakim to lay the cornerstone for the Ayalim
Association’s new student village, named after Yitzchak Shavit.


Shavit played a central role in developing Ayalim’s student villages throughout Israel since the organization’s establishment in 2002. Upon his untimely passing in February, Ayalim and a number of respected donors decided to honor Shavit and his contributions by establishing a new village in the Negev Desert. Contributors to the project included the Merage Foundations Israel, the Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds, the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal, the Jewish Agency, the Ministry of Housing and the Ofakim Municipality.

The ceremony included remarks by Ayalim Association founder Matan Dahan, Ofakim Mayor Tzvika Greenwald, Jewish Agency Deputy Chairman Rany Trainin, and Shavit’s brother Gid’on. Those present then proceeded to lay the new village’s cornerstone.

Ayalim

The first buildings are expected to be in place within a number of months, and the young volunteers will move into the village and will start contributing to the Ofakim community, for the benefit of all the city’s residents.

One of those in attendance noted that Shavit would no doubt have drawn a great deal of satisfaction and pride from the village’s establishment.

Ayalim

The Ayalim Association was founded to strengthen the communities of Israel’ Negev and Galilee regions. Led by young social change activists, the Association seeks to revive a Zionist model of community-building in Israel by promoting such values as Zionism and young entrepreneurship and nurturing the bonds between man and land, and between individual and society. Ayalim's student and entrepreneur villages serve as pillars of social outreach and the seeds of new communities.
Each student receives a three-year tuition scholarship and subsidized housing, and in turn they give 500 hours of community service—volunteering for and initiating social, educational and cultural programs in the surrounding under-served neighborhoods.

Some 600 students currently reside in eleven student and entrepreneur villages across the Negev and Galilee and work with more than 20,000 at-risk children and youth. The students in these villages are already bringing a new spirit of optimism and achievement to Israel’s periphery regions and creating social change throughout Israel.


Photo Credit: Leon Levitas


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