Menahemia is a small village near the Jordan Valley in north-eastern Israel. In December of 1902 the little farming community of Menachamia was founded by a group of five pioneers. In the summer of 2008 a new generation of pioneers arrived and established a student village in the heart of Menachamia. The Student Village was built in order to provide an anchor for social activities taking place in the Jordan Valley and to help strengthen the educational activities in the area.
Within a few weeks, Ayalim Association renovated a historic building, an old deserted school compound that became a bustling student village: classrooms were converted into apartments; the former student hall now serves as an “Ofarim Family Center”; and in the yard the students built gardens and pergolas.
All Ayalim participants are obligated to take part in two Work Weeks annually – once during the summer and once during Passover in the spring. Every year a location is decided upon, and 700 people gather to physically take on massive construction projects in one of the Student Villages or in the adjacent communities. In April of 2012, attention was turned to the old farming community of Menachamia.
Groups took on various tasks in two areas – in the community itself, and in the Student Village. After days of hard labor and toil, shoulder to shoulder, building, gardening and reviving the Zionist dream, the Ayalim spirit is instilled within the students and they continue their community outreach work knowing that they are part of a movement that brings to fruition their values and ideals.
A lasting pride in the physical construction and renovation of communities in Israel is a great testament to Ayalim’s success in fulfilling its mission for the students to remain in the Negev and Galilee after their studies. A percentage of Ayalim students stay in the Galilee after completing their studies. There is a group of the Menachmia village graduates who have decided to live together permanently in neighboring kibbutz, Neve Ur.
Today 37 students and 6 pre-army volunteers live in the village and volunteer within the community with children and youth. The village is a magnet for young people in the largely rural region as it plays host to musical and social events throughout the year.