Fellowship Program

Hagit Sabag

Hagit began her M.A in Talmud and Bible in Machon Shechter in October 1999. At the end of her first year was accepted into the Rabbinical school and is now in her third year of both these tracks. She expects to be ordained in the winter of 2004. During the past three summers, she has worked at Ramah camps in the Ukraine, for the first two years as a camp leader and in summer 2002 as an educational advisor to the 210 strong camp. Hagit developed educational programs, helped to direct and train the 40 staff members and was involved in the day-to-day running of the camp.

Hagit was born and raised in an Orthodox Moroccan family in Tirat Hacarmel, a former development town in the north, attending a state religious high school in the area. She served in the army as a lieutenant in the education corps and as a company commander for the youth battalion corps. Hagit entered Bar Ilan university to study Criminology and Informal Education the day after Yitzchak Rabin was murdered. The new Israeli reality affected her deeply and made her conscious of the importance of actions over words. In the wake of this realization, she set up the Meimad (left of centre religious political party) party on campus inviting speakers, organizing activities and increasing political awareness. For two of her three years on campus she worked as a tutor and as a coordinator for the Perach scheme that pairs up students with underprivileged children to provide enrichment programs. As part of her degree Hagit worked with prisoners on a regular basis. She accompanied one woman for four years from the day she was released from prison until the day she married and started to build her own family. Hagit also eventually set up a volunteer group in conjunction with the municipality of Tel Aviv that visited prisons and built relationships with prisoners. During the course of her studies Hagit was also a student of the Midrasha at Bar Ilan, an intensive Jewish studies program which commits its students to between two and three hours of Jewish textual learning each day.

After the completion of her B.A. Hagit traveled extensively. One of her many journeys included a month long trek to the Biblical sites of Ur Casdim, Ararat and Haran that are now found along the Eastern border of Turkey. Upon return, Hagit started to work as a co-ordinator in the TALI school system, teaching in their Bar/Bat Mitzvah program and in parent/children educational workshops. It was in the TALI framework that Hagit first gained exposure to different streams of pluralist Judaism and became increasingly interested in the Masorti movement in Israel. Over the next three years Hagit continued working in the TALI schools as well as starting to work with Melitz (a center for Zionist education). In the two years that Hagit worked full time at Melitz she was the co-ordinator of activities for both elementary schools and high schools all over Israel. In this capacity Hagit provided training for qualified teachers and group leaders, developed programs for elementary schools and high schools and led meetings between youth from Israel and abroad. Throughout her work at Melitz and TALI Hagit endeavored to include weaker sections of Israeli society in the programs she developed.

Hagit's long term project is to set up an open Beit Midrash in a development town in Israel. The Beit Hamidrash that she envisions will be a place for everyone, parents and children alike, to meet and work on their individual and communal problems together in a constructive manner. It will offer educational (Jewish and Secular) programs according to the needs of the community and will gradually introduce Jewish, spiritual aspects in a holistic manner.

Hagit's current project that she is developing together with Rikma involves the Conservative community in Ashkelon. Here is working with community leaders to develop educational programs in Netzach Israel, the Conservative synagogue and teaching at N'veh Dkalim, the TALI school in the area.