Shnat 2022

Leaving for Shnat!


A year of your life is not a lot of time in the greater scheme of things but the value that shnat can add to your life is immeasurable. I’m not going to tell you why Shnat is better than going into University or that it’s something everyone should do. However I do believe that it's worth considering.

There are so many amazing aspects and unique experiences that shnat offers that one cannot find anywhere else. One of the most inspiring and empowering elements is that shnat opens the opportunity for you to create your own mini society. This is the thing which will affect you the most. You can build your own small society, with your own social norms where you can express yourself however you want to, and experience alternative ways of living for example living in a kvutsah (an opportunity to actualize socialist principles).

Shnat allows you to experiment with who you are and who you want to be in the most eccentric manner while still providing the safety that we all crave. You are also surrounded by people who want to do the same, building you up and allowing you to have the experience which you are looking for. While Shnat provides the safety and boundaries with its structures it still provides something more than anything else could, true freedom. Freedom to explore yourself, freedom to discover new ideas and passions, freedom to be silly and freedom to explore the different ways you want to live. Shnat provides you with the ability to understand how to appreciate and exploit your newly found freedom but also shows you how to be responsible over it. Through your different classes on Machon, volunteering with local communities, budgeting, interacting with different madrichimot your age from around the world and all the different experiences you have, you will learn what it means to be you.

You will be able to sit with our shnat group and contemplate the difficulties of being a young South African Jew, while also being spontaneous, fun and young. You will be provided with the perfect mix of structure and freedom, designed specifically for you, to allow you to embark on the next chapter of your life. If you want to spend a year in Israel, gaining a deep understanding of our movement, exploring all the different aspects of Israeli society, youth, culture and learning what it means to be independent then Shnat is for you.

Your year is yours for the taking Aleh Ve’hagshe

Daniella Steiner

P.S. While this booklet contains logistical information about Shnat I suggest speaking to your madrichim and past shnatties to help inform you decision.

Exploring SA!


Shnat is broadly divided into four sections:

  1. Machon
  2. Summer Kaveret
  3. Kibbutz
  4. Autumn Kaveret

Between these different periods, the Shnatties will have Chofesh (holiday), where they will be free to stay wherever they wish and explore Israel without the usual structure of the programme. They will also have a number of seminars as a group and with others from around the world throughout the year, including an Orientation Seminar, a Rabin Seminar, a Conflict and Peace Seminar and others.

Owing to its success in 2021 we may add in a South African leg of the programme either before the Shnatties leave for Israel or after they return.

Dates for 2022

These are provisinal and subject to change

  1. Shnat Preparation Seminar (in SA): Early February
  2. A potential South African Tour: Straight after the preperation seminar
  3. Shnatties leave for Israel and have Orientation Seminar: Last week of February
  4. Machon: Early March until Mid-June
  5. Summer Kaveret: Mid-June until Mid-August
  6. Kibbutz: Mid-August until Mid-September
  7. Autumn: Mid-September until Mid-November
  8. Sikkum: Middle of November
  9. Shnatties return: 3rd week of November
  10. Machaneh: Dates yet to be set

The programme is expected to start in early February and end in early November.
Our new family!


Machon, short for Machon L’Madrichei Chutz L’aretz (The institute for leaders from Abroad) is an intense educational, inspirational and challenging programme. The Machon programme is taught by some of the most inspirational educators in Israel and offers a wide array of opportunity to learn about what it means to be a Jewish leader. The Machon programme is made up of various youth movements from around the world. Machon takes place at Kiryat Moriah in Jerusalem.

Machon offers education in fields such as Hadrachah (leadership), Israel, Jewish History, Zionism, and Israeli current affairs. The daily schedule is intense but rewarding! Weekly Siyurim (tours/outings) include hikes, museums, cultural exploration and engagement in Jerusalem and its surrounding areas. Machon consists of two Tiyulim, one of the North and one of the South which is mostly planned by the participants. These overnight tiyulim are some of the most unique experiences Eyal will have.

The friendships you form on this programme are bound by the shared experiences you have and are some of the strongest relationships you form in your life. Once classes finish you are free to do whatever you want, with weekends and evening completely free it is the perfect opportunity to explore Israeli society and culture, throw parties, visit friends and family and make the most of your year!

Machon is a challenging programme but everything you learn during this time will stick with you for life.



At the end of each term, the Shnatties will have a free week in Israel. We call this Chofesh. Most weekends on Shnat are also free. Some things that are done during chofesh are: Doof festival, Zorba festival, Camping at the dead sea, visiting family and friends in other parts of Israel!

Hiking in the North!


  • Shnat Prep Seminar
  • May Day Seminar
  • Yam Le Yam
  • South Africa Seminar
  • Poland Seminar
  • Habo History Seminar
  • Conflict Seminar
  • Rabin Seminar


At this stage of the program, Shnatties will live together in an Apartment in the Dan District (Tel Aviv and surrounds), as part of a part of a larger community of young Israeli activists. This part of the program enables participants to actively contribute to Israeli society and in that, gain understanding of some of the more complex socio-economic issues in the region and give back to their global community.

It is in this part of the program that Shnatties may choose to live communally and take responsibility over the group as a collective. Volunteering (Messima) options for this part of the program widely vary and each individual channich will be able to choose the best option that suits their passion. Some of the options include: working at centres for Asylum seekers, being madrichim for local Israeli children, volunteering at children's hospitals, soup kitchens, urban farms of even participating in Interfaith think tanks.

In this part of the program, participants will be responsible for cooking their own food and cleaning their own living environment. Each participant will be given Pizur or a stipend of 120 NIS per week as part of the program cost which goes towards these expenses.

Kaveret is also the time in which you get to really engage with Israeli society and Jewish culture in a dynamic way. This part of the programme allows you the time and freedom to explore the nooks and crannies of the neighbourhood you live in, to travel greater Israel and to experience the cultural side of Israel through movies, music, theatre, literature and discussion.

Our new home!


Kibbutz is a wonderful opportunity to expose yourself to a world founded on socialist and community-based values.

Working together in various areas of expertise, the Kibbutz experience teaches you work ethic, skills, and group responsibility. Kibbutz is an incredibly fun experience and everyday brings new experiences! Kibbutz also provides a great opportunity to hike and explore Israel.

Work on Kibbutz starts early in the morning and ends at lunch time, giving you ample time to explore, relax at the pool in , hang at the pub and make friends with the kibbutniks your age!
Kibbutz provides an opportunity to become closer to community based ideas and to Habonim history.


One of the most formative programmes on shnat is the trip to poland. This trip is a way for Eyal to confront the realities of the holocaust through the youths eyes.

We learn about the atrocities as well as the history of our movement, here we learn that in the face of adversity youth rose to the occasion and took a stand against the Nazis and this is our history. A history that we share with Habonim around the world.

The trip hasn't happened over the past two year due to Covid - but HDSA feels like its an important experience and is going to make an active effort to try to ensure that it can happen.

South African Tour

The focus of this leg of the tour was connecting with the South African context, exploring rural South Africa as well as learning about different farming methods.

This addition waas added in to 2021 owing to Covid and Israel not allowing our shnatties in for two months but it was a great success.


Why Take a Gap-Year

An extra year in the scheme of things is nothing! And what you will gain from it makes it completely worthwhile…

A gap year straight after school is a phenomenal opportunity to develop and mature as an independent young adult. Take a year to challenge you values, to gain invaluable life experience at this formative age, to meet people from other countries, and to have fun.

Interested? Want further information?

Or downlaod our brochure HERE