The IMPJ Mechina Project is a post-high school, pre-military year dedicated to study and preparations toward compulsory service in the IDF.
In September 2003, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) launched its “Project Mechina”. In Israel today there are over 30 different Mechina projects, each offering a different perspective and emphasis regarding issues and values studied. The IMPJ Mechina offers young Israelis the opportunity to intensively study their Jewish heritage and Israeli identity. The participants put Jewish values into practice by working in community service projects. We believe that leadership training, the social contribution and the intense experience of living in a close community with program members will endow these young people with the skills and commitment to become future leaders in the Progressive Jewish community in Israel. This year, Project Mechina received official recognition from the Ministry of Defense, allowing participants to defer their military service for a year, and opening up the program to a much greater number of students.
All participants will subsequently serve in the Israel Defense Forces following the Mechina year. The interpersonal and leadership skills developed during the year will enhance the participants’ ability to perform their military service in a manner that is purposeful, patriotic an The program’s location in the Lev-Yaffo neighborhood in Jaffa plays a significant part in shaping the character and quality of the Mechina experience. The Mechina is based in a diverse neighborhood, whose residents include Jews from an extremely wide range of religious and ethnic backgrounds, as well as Muslim and Christian Arabs and migrant laborers from around the world. Placing the Mechina in Jaffa serves one of the fundamental pillars of the IMPJ: working in a poor urban area and aiding people in need through a locally based IMPJ community.