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Bikurim: “First Harvest” in Hebrew

Bikurim: The Youth Village for the Performing Arts in Eshkol (Israel) is an initiative to provide a world-class, intensive, performing arts school and residence to high school students with significant artistic potential but from disadvantaged homes throughout Israel, with particular emphasis on the southern half of the country. Historically, high-quality training in the arts has been available only to children from affluent families in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Bikurim is changing that. Located in the Eshkol region, which borders the Gaza Strip, the Youth Village is a warm environment for professional excellence as well as individual and collaborative achievement among youth who have hitherto felt marginalized in Israeli society, particularly in this region which has suffered years of trauma due to incessant rocket fire from Gaza.

Bikurim is an unprecedented social, cultural and educational model in Israel. We commenced operations in September 2014, with twenty 9th-10th graders from underserved communities around Israel. We now are the home to thirty-five students. Each year the Village will recruit another group of thirty 9th-10th graders of extraordinary artistic potential, reaching our full capacity of 120-150 students in September 2018. The Village is operated by a registered non-profit association (amutah) in Israel and is fully accredited by the Ministry of Education as a full-service residential boarding school.

This is a targeted investment with an integrative multiplier effect: all students will be taught to "give back" to their home communities through an extensive public service component. During school vacations, the Village will operate as a national music workshop for primary school-age children from Israel’s underserved regions, thereby significantly extending our reach into the community.

Bikurim is partnered all of the important local stakeholders and already benefits from the support of several philanthropic foundations:

The Eshkol Regional Council (our municipal authority)
The Jewish National Fund-UK
The Settlement Department of the World Zionist Organization
The Jewish Colonization Association (ICA)
The Jewish National Fund-Australia
The Regional High School
The Association for the Advancement of the Residents of the Eshkol Region
The Lucius Littauer Foundation, New York
The Ministry for the Development of the Negev & Galilee.

For more information or to find out how you can help, please contact:
the Bikurim non-profit association
e-mail: bikurim.g@gmail.com
phone: In the U.S.: 1-347-698-1131   |   In Israel: +972-54-7916931

Please check out our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/www.bikurim.org