Recent graduates of the Jewish Agency's Selah program, a Hebrew acronym for “students before their parents,” pose for a group shot. The young men and women from the former Soviet Union will now serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
December 2, 2010 / 22 Kislev 5771
Before embarking upon their Israel Defense Force (IDF) service, 124 young men and women celebrated their graduation from the Selah program last week in Carmiel.
The ceremony was held in a central hall in Carmiel in the presence of municipal officials. The Municipality presented each soldier with a gift.
Selah, a Hebrew acronym for “students before their parents,” is a 12 –14 month academic preparatory course for recent high school graduates from the former Soviet Union (FSU) to continue their higher education in Israel. Selah helps to facilitate aliyah and absorption for these young adults, many of whom are followed by their parents and other family members.
The gateway to Israel for these 17-18 year old high school graduates, the program includes intensive Hebrew-language studies (ulpan), cultural programs and activities, and a special course of studies to prepare the participants for postsecondary education.
Nina Karpakno from the Ukraine came to Israel on the Keshet Program of the Jewish Agency and joined in the ceremony, where she gave an emotional speech to the soldiers. Nina is the mother of one of the soldiers and had not seen her daughter in four years. In addition Nina also has twins who are also serving in the IDF in special units.
Tziona Eizenstein, the Director of the Carmiel Absorption Center, spoke warmly about the olim, who had had left their families and friends to study in Israel and are now starting on a new journey as soldiers in the IDF. She told the soldiers how proud she was of the graduates and how much she was going to miss them.
On behalf of the Municipality and the Jewish Agency Tziona wishes the soldiers the best of luck in their service.
Since Selah was launched in 1995 with 80 students, thousands of dynamic young people have graduated from the program from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Azerbaijan, the Baltic States and Georgia.