Every year students at Hadassah Neurim Youth Aliyah Village who meet the criteria of academic achievement, social activity, and giving back to the community are encouraged to submit their names as candidates for the Scholarship Award. The prize is designed to encourage excellence both in the classroom and in the greater community, and the students, like the one quoted below, become role models for the entire Hadassah Neurim campus.
After a rigorous screening process, which includes an interview with a village graduate and village staff, 13 students were awarded the prestigious prize for 2023.
Speaking on behalf of all the winners, Hodaya Crystal, a scholarship winner and resident of the village for the past three years, explained her involvement both at Hadassah Neurim and outside in this way:
“I volunteer in the Youth Unit of the Israel Border Police, in which I attend patrols once a month and participate in the unit’s activities and ceremonies. When I wear the uniform, I feel a great responsibility. I am proud to volunteer in the unit, and I salute all the other volunteers and fighters who invest their time and risk their lives to protect the country.
“During the 10th grade, I successfully completed an extraction and rescue course, and became part of the village’s emergency response team. In this team we train to rescue casualties from the rubble so that we are ready for any situation. I also participated in a combat fitness class for over six months to prepare for military service.
“For two and a half years I volunteered at the village’s rehabilitation kennel, during which I took part in the process of rehabilitating dogs and finding warm and loving adoptive families. One special dog, Alaska, won my heart. She was the smartest, most beautiful, most gentle and talented dog I have ever met. Her adoption story was an exciting event for me. I miss her very much and hope she is doing well with her new family.
“Last year, I took part in the ‘Queen of the Village’ program promoting female empowerment in which the girls of the school participate along with the village’s female staff. We met weekly, built a strong group, and at the end of the process went on a three-day trip in the desert that we had planned on our own. It was an empowering womanly experience from which I learned a lot.
“Next year I will join a pre-military preparatory school and continue directly into the army as a combat fighter in the border police. I would like to influence girls who are afraid to reach for such positions and inspire them to join meaningful service. I would like them to understand that there is nothing to fear from this, but, on the contrary, to feel the sense of satisfaction, empowerment, and pride that comes from being a warrior.
There is great pride in being the warrior who protects the citizens of the country and instilling in them a sense of security. I hope to be able to convey through my actions the message that everyone should feel confident to follow their dreams and not let fear stop them.
“In a few years I expect to be a mature and successful citizen influencing the Israeli society in which I live. I have many ambitions and dreams to go far; through them I hope to contribute to my community and influence and inspire others. In addition, I hope to be a source of support for my family and help them grow and develop, because my family is a significant part of my life. I am excited to receive the village scholarship. I feel that I went through a significant process during my years of education at Hadassah Neurim. I went through a process of self-change. I developed and my confidence grew stronger. I opened up to those around me. I expanded my social circle, and I am proud of the process I went through. The youth village helped me a lot. I believed in myself and reminded myself never to give up.”
Thanks to the women of Hadassah and the staff at our youth village, Hadassah Neurim, girls such as Hodaya grow to become productive, successful citizens of Israel and role models for women everywhere.