University students to begin studying in Negev town of Yeruham

Sapir College program enabled those pursuing bachelor’s degree to study in the southern town of Yerusham.

Jazz pianist Omri Mor puts his students through their collective pace (photo credit: EDEN KALIF)
Jazz pianist Omri Mor puts his students through their collective pace
(photo credit: EDEN KALIF)
Twenty-five students from across Israel, including from Ra’anana, Kfar Saba, Jerusalem and Rehovot, will begin studying for their undergraduate studies in the southern town of Yeruham this week, as part of an initiative to bolster ties between Israel’s urban center and its periphery.
The “Kulna Sapir” (“We Are All Sapir”) program offers three-year bachelor’s degrees, the first two years of which are spent in Yeruham, located in the Negev desert south of Beersheba, and combine residential and social activities. The students will spend the third year at Sapir Academic College, near Sderot.
There are two available degrees in the program; Music and Culture, with an emphasis on music from the East, ethnic instruments and piyyutim (Jewish liturgical poems), and Society and Culture, with a specialization in social activism and entrepreneurship.
The idea is that the students will help contribute to society in Yeruham, and while so doing develop a relationship with the people of the town as part of an effort to improve the connection to the many Israelis in the central district who are unfamiliar with life in the periphery.
Both tracks have been recognized by the Council for Higher Education and participants will receive grants of NIS 16,000 and housing assistance.
A festive inaugural ceremony will be held this Wednesday (October 17), in the presence of the mayor of Yerucham and the president of Sapir Academic College.
One of the students participating in the program is Yehoshua Mark, the son of Rabbi Michael (Miki) Mark, who was murdered in a terrorist attack in the South Hebron Hills in July 2016.
Mark married last week and he and his wife have decided to build their home in Yeruham. Mark is studying towards the Music and Culture degree.
Ahead of the move to Yeruham, Mark wrote on Facebook of that “we are ready for love, ready to celebrate, to work, to fix the transient, to go out of Egypt, to shed the watermelon rinds and zucchinis of loneliness, to journey in the wilderness of faith.”
Yaniv Yitshak, the director of Kulna Sapir, said, “The goal of the program is to make the knowledge available in the periphery accessible to those in the center of the country, and vice versa, by providing students in Yeruham with a good experience that will leave them understanding that the town is important and worthy of respect.”
The program has been backed financially by JNF UK which also financed the renovation of the building in Yeruham where the academic studies will take place.
“We are now completing the advancement of educational programs for all age groups in Yeruham, from early childhood education through investment in primary schools to high school and now also in tertiary education,” said Chairman of JNF UK Samuel Hayek.
“Our goal is to enable every child and student in the Negev to realize his maximum potential and to turn the Negev into a magnet for talented people from all over the country.”