Working Men and Women: Vocational Training Restored as Israel Emerges from Covid Pandemic
Many young adults were delighted not to have to go to work during the COVID pandemic, but the young men and women of the Norm and Elaine Brodsky Darkaynu Programs anxiously awaited the all-clear announcement as health regulations were lifted across Israel and they were able to embark upon an integral part of their year-in-Israel: vocational training.
This component of the Darkaynu experience is designed to provide students with the skills and experience that will enable them to live as independently as possible. During the first few months of the year, vocational training was necessarily adapted to meet COVID health regulations; instead of individual job placements, Darkaynu brought training to campus, teaching theory and offering workshops in areas such as photography, music, carpentry and CPR.
As much as the students enjoyed the workshops, nothing could replace the experience of experiential learning through hands-on work. So, as the number of new COVID cases slowed down and the Israeli government lifted health restrictions right after Pesach, the vaccinated students embarked upon their job placements. Their work in local stores, preschool classrooms, pizza shops, bakeries, and offices is now helping them learn responsibility and acquire skills that will help them when they begin the next chapter of their lives upon returning home.
Yochanon Gittleson, a shana gimmel (third year) Darkaynu participant, works at the stock store in nearby Kfar Etzion. “It’s been a long time since I could go to work,” he enthused. “I just love my job and it’s truly amazing to be back.”
“It’s not easy finding the right place for a young adult with special needs,” relates Rabbi Sholom Hoffman, whose son Shua works at the Prili market in Efrat. “Darkaynu teaches them responsibility and how to function in society as mature people. It’s an incredible growth process.”