January 14, 2008 / 7 Shevat 5768
Despite her limited Jewish background, Sasha Vail is now an Israeli citizen, and with the support of the Jewish Agency's Atidim – Cadets for Public Service program, has the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to Israeli society.
Sasha Vail (22) grew up in a model Russian family with knowledge of her ancestor’s strong role in the Communist Revolution but little knowledge of her Jewish heritage. By attending Jewish Agency summer camps and youth groups, Sasha learned about Judaism and began to feel different from her Ukrainian peers.
Sasha, a beautiful, confident young woman made aliyah to Israel from Crimea, Ukraine at the height of the Intifada in 2000. She is an only child and her parents live in her hometown of Simferopol.
In 2002, Sasha began studying law at the Hebrew University. Her financial situation was tenuous since she had no support from her family. When a friend told her about the Atidim – Cadets for Public Service program, Sasha was not only attracted to the generous economic and social benefits, but also to the values and vision of the program.
This unique national program develops professional leaders for public service by creating equal education opportunities, thereby closing socio-economic gaps crippling Israel’s periphery. Participants come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are top students who have completed quality military service. They are leaders and social entrepreneurs; they are highly motivated to succeed, but need the support to do so.
Cadets earn their bachelor’s degree in diverse fields such as law, economics and accounting and study in a special academic program of The Hebrew University’s School of Public Policy. During their studies, cadets serve as interns in the public sector. Sasha was accepted to the second class of the program and is currently working in the Anti-Trust Authority. All participants receive a tuition scholarship to university, boarding expenses, a living stipend, a laptop computer and personal tutoring from leading figures in Israel’s public sector. An additional summer program brings cadets to the United States to learn about the American public service system, live in a Jewish community and gain valuable experience abroad. Graduates of the program commit to working in Israel’s public sector for the first five years after completing their studies.
Atidim offers today’s disadvantaged youth a more positive and enriching future. By bolstering traditionally disenfranchised bright young people, including new immigrants, Atidim truly transforms the landscape of Israeli society.
Please join the Jewish Agency in ensuring that talented young people from lower socio-economic areas are able to receive a higher education, finance their studies and serve in their communities as leaders to further strengthen and develop the potential in these areas. Donate here.
To learn more about the mission of Atidim, and how it has had unprecedented success, click here.