Mechina - Gap Year

The Hannaton Mechina Gap Year Program is, first and foremost, a home and a family. We believe that the integration of Judaism, Zionism, and social responsibility, in the spirit of love for both humanity and the land, is the key to a worthy Israeli society.


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The Mechina Gap Year Program has several characteristics that form the basis of the students’ experience:

  1. A pluralistic mechina: The Hannaton Mechina Gap Year is a diverse mechina encompassing religious, secular, Conservative (Masorti), and Reform ideologies, welcoming both men and women.
  2. A diverse mechina: The mechina brings together students from across the country spanning all backgrounds, including students from the center of the country and peripheral areas, graduates of various youth movements, boarding schools, youth villages, and more. Diversity stands as a cornerstone of the program, with significant efforts directed toward enrolling students from regions not traditionally represented in pre-army programs.
  3. The mechina actively integrates students with diverse special needs: Every year participants from various backgrounds and levels, including those in wheelchairs and with complex disabilities, are included. The Hannaton Mechina holds the distinction of being the first mechina that prioritized the inclusion of individuals with special needs, and is still a leader in this field.

The Hannaton Mechina Gap Year recognizes Israel's intricate division among sectors and aspires to foster a transformative environment. Embracing this ethos, the diverse group of participants aims to create a unique reality, fostering understanding amid differences, and be the change we want to see in the world. By living together with individuals from varied backgrounds, our students cultivate a broad perspective that they carry into their journeys within the IDF and wider Israeli society.

"Halakhah and Legend" (Chaim Nachman Bialik)

The Hannaton Mechina creates a balance between two central values, which Bialik defined in his influential article, "Halacha and Legend" - our story (legend), and our deed (Halacha). This balance is reflected in the mechina by engaging in deep learning, clarifying questions about identity, and getting to know the personal stories of each and every student, while at the same time placing a strong emphasis on the actions of the group and each participant individually, through whole days dedicated to entrepreneurship, activism, and social involvement. Participants learn that it is crucial for us not to remain in passive study but to maintain study that leads to action.


"In order to lead people - go behind them" (Lao Tse)

In the Hannaton mechina, the emphasis is on cultivating leadership and social responsibility. The educational program is designed to guide each participant to discover themselves and their uniqueness through many empowering experiences, both in their daily routine and in the field, through inspiring sessions and a deeper understanding of their individual inner strengths and individuality.

At the mechina, students take on responsibility throughout the program. They take charge of significant portions of the schedule, curate content series, organize trips, lead group discussions, and foster the group's morale. Each participant is responsible for a specific sphere in the mechina. The leadership we foster is integrative, allowing individuals to express themselves fully. We prioritize the journey itself, emphasizing listening skills, effective communication, decision-making, knowing when is the right time to compromise or the right time to persist, nurturing friendships, and recognizing the common good rather than solely fixating on the end goal.

These practices aid the students in honing the leadership skills we envision them using in the future to guide and lead Israeli society.

Established in 2012 by Rabbi Yoav Ende, Itai Capsouto, and Yedidya Hazani, the Hannaton mechina is located in Kibbutz Hannaton.