Diaspora-Sourced Torah Scroll Finds New Home at Israel's First Pre-Military Agricultural Preparatory Program

Jerusalem, Israel - June 11, 2024 -In a momentous event on the eve before Shavuot, the holiday commemorating the giving of the Torah, HaShomer HaChadash Pre-Military Preparatory Program, also known as Mechina, inaugurated its first Sefer Torah, brought from the United States to Eretz Yisrael, marking a significant milestone for the organization.

The Torah, restored by a couple in the US, was part of a project to rehabilitate Torah scrolls from inactive communities. This initiative honors the  father of the husband, who carried a Torah while fleeing the Holocaust. In recent years, this couple - who wished to remain anonymous - has donated three refurbished Torah scrolls to Israeli communities, with the fourth now gifted to the Mechina. He aims to foster the Negev’s growth and strengthen ties between the Diaspora and Israel.

Located on a historic horse farm near Arad, HaShomer HaChadash Mechina is Israel’s first pre-military agricultural preparatory program. Established just a few years ago, the Mechina has quickly gained recognition for its innovative approach to education. It proudly bears the name of Ron Kukia, a Nahal soldier tragically murdered in a terrorist attack on November 30, 2017, in Arad.

Combining agricultural training with studies in Zionism, Jewish heritage, and philosophy, the Mechina prepares students for military service. The recent completion of a new Beit Midrash, named in honor of Ron Kukia, highlights the institution's commitment to academic and spiritual growth. The Beit Midrash is frequently used during Shabbat and holidays by students and families, necessitating a Torah.

The inauguration of the Torah took place in an exciting event, where it was then placed into the Mechina's Beit Midrash. The event will be followed by a traditional 'Tikun Leil Shavuot', during which teachers from the Mechina will impart lessons to the students. 

The Torah will serve as a symbol of the bond between the Diaspora and the residents of Israel, particularly during times of war and adversity. It will be a source of inspiration and guidance for the students as they prepare for their military service and beyond.

HaShomer HaChadash's Mechina takes pride in its diverse and inclusive nature, welcoming individuals from all shades of Israeli society – secular, religious, and men and women alike. Through its comprehensive program, the Mechina aims to nurture the next generation of leaders who are deeply connected to the land, agriculture, and Jewish-Israeli identity.

Einat Kramer, Educational Director at HaShomer HaChadash, reflects on the significance of this event: "Shavuot is not only the festival of first fruits, which appears in the Torah, it is also the actual festival of Torah – the holiday of giving of the Torah. It's hard not to remember another holiday of the Torah, Simchat Torah, a holiday in which we all broke down a little. A holiday in which we could not rejoice with the Torah. Now on the holiday of Matan Torah, we bring a Torah Scroll into our preparatory school. Upright, strong, and happy."

The arrival of this special Torah Scroll underscores the resilience of the Jewish spirit and the importance of heritage preservation. HaShomer HaChadash Mechina is honored to be its new home in Israel.