oranim - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • cicely
    • 11.10.12 | 10:04 (IST)

    Oranim is known for seeking out "the lowest common denominator" on most of their programs. For example, the program that Hershkowitz appears to have been on, bills itself as "free" on their website (once you factor in MASA grants and "private donors" for a certain age group). As far as I could tell, they have no real application process than just the basic MASA work-up, and their programs are large and therefore it is very difficult to monitor participants well being etc. They are also known for being dogmatic and right-wing. All these factors together, in my mind, make it breeding ground for unhealthy thoughts and immature young people--it is no surprise that eventually one of those young people turns dangerous. My husband works for another, smaller MASA program. His program has its own application process where potential participants have to write full-on essays in response to numerous questions (including what their coping skills are in difficult situations). He also conducts phone interviews/info sessions for, generally, no less than 30 minutes and sometimes they go over an hour during which he can get a decent sense of the young adult. When in question, he calls references which are required. Problems have arisen with participants not doing well or even having mental health issues and needing to go home, however, the counselors are ALWAYS on top of what is going on with the participants and check in very often. I hope that Oranim is doing some serious self-reflection after this incident.

    from the article: An American Jew goes postal in Eilat: Who’s to blame for William Hershkowitz?
    First published 08:26 11.10.12 | Last updated 08:26 11.10.12
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