BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change is an Israeli movement at the forefront of social activism and Jewish pluralism in Israel. Every year, BINA reaches over 50,000 Israelis and individuals from around the world through social, educational and community programs.

As a BINA Gap Year participant, you'll be a part of a diverse community of Israelis and internationals working toward social change through study and action.

Our LEAP Year (Mechina) program is for participants from around the world who want to spend an extended period of time in Israel developing their own Jewish identity and connection to Israel alongside their Israeli peers. The program is for people who have just finished high school, ages 17-19.

Mechina literally means ‘preparation’. In Israel, it refers to a year of studies and social action after graduating high school before starting their army service. BINA’s mechina combines Jewish studies and social action, seeking to educate young Jews about important tenets of Judaism, and about how to put them into practice through social action and grassroots activism.

At the end of your 10 months in Israel, you will embark on a month-long journey to the Bay Area with other international and Israeli Mechina participants.

Daily activities include counselor responsibilities at the OFJCC J-Camp; learning with Secular Yeshiva Faculty; volunteering in local areas of need; cultural outings in Bay Area; site visits to local Jewish organizations to attend guest lectures; group bonding activities (including Shabbat dinners), and more!

You will live in dorms with 2-4 other people, have 3 meals a day provided, spend your time learning, volunteering and developing a deeper familiarity with American Jewish life.

*The JCC will cover the cost of participants flights

Yes, BINA is proud to support and welcome participants of all sexual orientations and gender identities. BINA as an organization proudly advocates for the rights of LGBTQ+ people in Israel and beyond, and we make great efforts to make sure that individuals of diverse identities feel welcome, included, safe and celebrated.

You will live in apartments in the Shapira neighborhood of south Tel Aviv. The apartments are furnished and equipped with all the basic necessities. You will be sharing a bedroom with other participants, with a few bedrooms per apartment. 

Our programs encourage participants to live as a group using communal resources. This means many daily living decisions are made democratically, as a group. In addition, the group has a joint sum of money that is used collectively for buying groceries and other necessities. Meals are usually cooked together in the apartment, or on the BINA campus in south Tel Aviv.

Yes, there are breaks for major Jewish holidays, as well as a January break in between first and second semesters.

All participants will receive basic health care coverage from one of Israel's health care cooperatives. There is a clinic and pharmacy in the neighborhood. Please be advised that your health insurance will not cover preexisting conditions, mental health, as well as a few other treatments. Participants taking prescription medications should bring enough with them to last the duration of the program.

Yes, it’s possible to receive college credit on BINA but only for specific courses and with some additional assignments. Please let us know if you are interested in college credit and we can provide you with more information and a list of colleges where college credit from BINA has been previously accepted.

BINA Gap Year 2022-2023 is scheduled to run as planned, as long as we are able to do so safely and in full compliance with Israeli Ministry of Health guidelines, and taking into consideration guidelines from participants' home countries and restrictions on air travel. In the event that BINA cancels the program due to the COVID pandemic, we will offer registered participants full refunds of paid tuition and deposits.

Apply now to qualify for our early-bird discount!
For more details on the program and application process >>

Israel (+972) 53-902-3329 (call or text)USA (+1) 646-883-5105 (call or text) | gapyear@bina.org.il