Journal Entry: Artists in Tarbut Program Paint a Positive Outlook for At-Risk Youth in Afula, Israel

30, 2011, 4:30 p.m. – From the self-sustainable farm in Modi’in to the Ayalim Student Village in Sderot, a theme was evolving – New Zionism, a pioneering spirit that is driving young people to reconnect with the land and re-“jew”-venate neglected areas of Israel.

We learned about another unique program called the Tarbut Young Community, based inAfula,Israel. Tarbut is a unique cultural community, consisting of young men and women who specialize in various artistic fields, such as theater, music, song and dance.  The young people, most of which moved to Afula from Israel’s central regions, chose to live together in a cooperative and work in their artistic fields by running social and cultural activities for at-risk youth in Afula. 

“We take troubled youth off the streets and empower them through art and education,” said Hadas Goldman, a participant in the program.  “Many of them join youth clubs.  We also celebrate Shabbat and holidays together.” 

Hadas and the other participants live in a cooperative communal lifestyle in what she termed “an urban kibbutz.” As artists, they also tour and perform at area schools and community centers. 

Afula is one of 12 Israeli communities with a Tarbut program.  The program has grown to more than 400 participants, ages 18 to 27. 

Hadas said she is proud of their work and emphatic about her commitment to stay right where she is. 

“Most young people leave Afula,” she said. “We’re not leaving.  We see it as our home, as pioneers.”

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