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Jerusalem College of Technology and Netzach Educational Network launch medical school preparatory program for haredi students.

August 2023

August 2023

JCT, together with the Netzach Educational Network, on Monday, launched a new mechina (preparatory program) for haredi men and women who are seeking to become physicians.

The new Netzach Medical Mechina offers separate courses for men and women. The program is designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree, with classes twice a week for six-hour sessions for three semesters over 15 months, with additional online units for independent study. The goal is to prepare students for success in the entrance examinations at Israel’s medical schools.

The program is being led by Dr. Sara Genut, head of the JCT Bioinformatics Department, who has extensive experience preparing students for medical school.

Israeli Minister of Health Moshe Arbel (Shas) said, “Establishing a haredi preparatory program for medical school is a great blessing, which will enable the integration of haredi students in the world of medicine and, in doing so, help them look ahead to the future, for the benefit of the entire healthcare system.”

“Thanks to the high level of education found in the Jerusalem College of Technology, a school that has successfully integrated different populations who aspire to excellence, we will be able to see in the coming years young doctors from all walks of life taking their place at the forefront of hospitals and medical centers across the country,” he added.

The new pre-medical preparatory program will equip ambitious and talented haredi students to enter the medical profession, which will be an added benefit for their own community and Israel’s society at large.

The program is designed to support and empower haredi students, particularly women, some of whom already have children. It will include workshops on cultural competence, in preparation for entering a profession that serves people from different cultures. It will also cover issues of halakha (Jewish law) and medical ethics. As part of the program, those who are accepted to medical school after the course will be supported throughout their medical studies by haredi physicians as their mentors.

A total of 40 candidates have been accepted to the program, out of 150 applicants. To be accepted, they demonstrated the high aptitude levels required for success in medical school, as well as a recognized bachelor's degree in a relevant scientific subject or in nursing, physical therapy, or occupational therapy. Partial scholarships were offered to qualified students.

Obtaining a medical degree is a challenging goal for most Israeli students, but this is especially true for haredim for a variety of reasons, including the intensity of the academic studies required to enter medical schools in the country, various cultural differences in many haredi communities, and the low standard for science and math education in most haredi schools.

As a result, most medically-oriented haredi students have opted to enter nursing and para-medical professions, as well as other science and technology roles, but have often been met with a glass ceiling when trying to enter Israel’s highly competitive medical schools.

President of JCT, Prof. Chaim Sukenik said, “Medicine remains one of the most sought-after professions in Israel. Opening the door to this world for the haredi population will allow many talented young people in that community to realize this dream. This will not only train much-needed medical personnel but will further integrate haredi society into the healthcare community. The Jerusalem College of Technology is pleased to play an important role in creating this program.”

“We have consulted many experts during the process of designing this unique course. Its curriculum will prepare young men and women from haredi backgrounds for the academic and cultural challenges involved in becoming doctors,” Michoel Nechtiler, Netzach CEO, said. “We recognize that there are many obstacles for them to overcome, and we are committed to supporting them in maintaining their haredi lifestyle and Torah observance throughout the process. We hope that this flagship program will open the doors to Israel’s medical profession and encourage younger haredi students to strive for excellence in their studies and to aim for the top.”

President of Shaare Zedek Medical Center Prof. Yonatan Halevy, who is also Chairman of the Board of the Netzach Educational Network, said: “There are no shortcuts to being admitted to medical school in Israel. Our standards are very high, and so too is our level of education in this field. This Netzach preparatory program is a rich one and is structured in a way that it will provide the very best training, enabling haredi students to successfully integrate into the country’s medical schools.”

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