BRIDGING THE GAP
When someone from a Haredi background decides to join an academic or vocational degree program, they are crossing from one world into another. It is a not a decision to be taken lightly, particularly for individuals with no background in secular studies. KEMACH offers scholarships to Haredi men and women who want to earn qualifications. However, we recognize that they need to make many major decisions about their future, so we provide a “bridge” to make the process easier for them.
The KEMACH Guidance Center employs a team of psychologists and careers advisors – who are themselves Haredi and sensitive to the lifestyle challenges and hurdles that Haredi students may face.
The KEMACH Guidance Center helped 600 students last year from all over Israel, in addition to providing career guidance services to Jerusalem clients of the Kivun Placement Center.
THE GUIDANCE PROCESS
The first stage of the guidance process is a comprehensive computerized aptitude test, which takes 4-5 hours. It is designed to measure each applicant’s suitability for academic or vocational study, and see if they have the requisite skills and determination to succeed. A guidance counsellor talks them through the results and recommends career options for them to consider, based on their capabilities, goals and cultural background.
Academic Study Skills:
When applicants approach KEMACH’s Guidance Center having had a very limited secular education, our guidance counsellors prepare them for the challenges involved in taking an academic course. They may advise them to choose a vocational degree course, or take different route into employment through one of KEMACH’s other programs.
KEMACH provides Haredi male guidance counsellors to advise male applicants and Haredi female guidance counsellors to advise the women. As qualified psychologists with experience of Israeli student life, they are sensitive to the many social issues that a Haredi student will encounter on campus. They can also advise potential students – many of whom are already married – on how to balance family commitments with study requirements.
MEET RABBI ZOHAR BALULU
35, married + 1, lives in Netanya Zohar learned in Kollel for 12 years and then worked for a few years to support his wife while she finished her degree. He didn’t know what he wanted to learn or do as a profession. He came to the KEMACH Guidance Center for help to understand his position. The computer test suggested he would be successful in interior design or nutritional consulting, and he sat with KEMACH psychologist Meir to discuss which option to pursue. With Meir’s help, he decided to follow his drive to help people and signed up for the nutritional counseling course. Meir also helped him to apply for a 50% scholarship from KEMACH. Zohar wrote as follows: “Thank you so much for all your help, guidance and counseling. Even though our meeting was short, I feel it helped me understand the benefits of the two options and come to a much clearer decision about what to learn. The KEMACH Foundation has helped me open a new story in my life which could not have happened without your support.
KEMACH’s priority in guiding Haredi students is to help them to succeed, without compromising their religious or family values, so they can complete their degree and qualify for a rewarding career.