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Our History

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Founded in 1925, AMIT is the world’s leading supporter of religious Zionist education and social services for Israel’s children and youth, nurturing and educating Israeli children to become productive, contributing members of society. Our more than 110 schools and programs constitute Israel’s only government-recognized network of religious Jewish education incorporating academic and technological studies and include youth villages and facilities for children in foster care. At present, AMIT educates more than 33,000 children including those from disadvantaged backgrounds. During its long history, however, AMIT has served diverse populations, responding to the crises, challenges – and tragedies – of Jewish history.

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A group of children at the AMIT Youth Village at Petach Tikvah. Photographed in 1948

As early as 1934, AMIT (then known as Mizrachi Women’s Organization of America) was at the forefront of Youth Aliyah, the rescue of Jewish children from Europe and their resettlement in Palestine. In the years ahead, and immediately following the end of the war in Europe, AMIT participated in the resettlement of thousands of children – many of them orphans – who survived the Holocaust. These children had witnessed unspeakable horrors. Some of them refused to speak. Many were severely malnourished and racked with disease. Others hoarded food from every meal, refusing to believe that they would never again face starvation. 

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1955: The first Ethiopian Jews to arrive in Israel find homes at AMIT Kfar Batya. Most eventually return to Ethiopia as educators and community leaders.

The survivors of the Holocaust were followed by the large influx of Jews from North Africa and the Arab countries in 1948/49. Again, AMIT’s resources were tested as its facilities were flooded by the pressing needs of tens of thousands of newly arrived immigrant children. In 1955, the first contingent of Ethiopian Jews arrived and in the 1970s, the great Russian immigration began. With each new development in Israel’s history AMIT responded, opening new schools and facilities to meet the demands of a growing population of children in need. 

In 1981, AMIT was designated by the Israeli government as its official Reshet (network) for religious secondary technological education. This landmark event set the stage for a major expansion of AMIT’s educational facilities (which continues to this day) as municipalities with faltering religious technological high schools seek out the organization to take over and dramatically improve their local facilities.  AMIT students reflect all Israel: religious and secular; Ashkenazi and Sephardi; sabra and immigrant. All students are welcome in AMIT’s educational environment, which emphasizes, in a special curriculum, tolerance, understanding and the performance of mitzvot

AMIT’s education model is to ensure that the majority of children in our care will pass bagrut, an accomplishment essential for success in the Israeli economy and job market. In case after case, AMIT has taken charge of a failing school – some with 20 percent or less of its students passing the bagrut – and raised the level to 70 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent and higher. 

AMIT empowers our children to succeed by nurturing each child with confidence, instilling knowledge, values, and self esteem in a wholesome educational environment.

Did You Know?

  • Motivated by the vision of Bessie Gotsfeld, AMIT was founded in 1925 and opens the first vocational high school for girls in Jerusalem in 1933.
  • More than 33,000 youngsters in more than 110 facilities throughout Israel are now cared for and educated in AMIT schools, youth villages, surrogate homes and child care facilities. AMIT is Israel’s official network for religious technological secondary education.
  • The story of modern Israel includes that of an economic miracle, but many Israelis have not been touched by it. They need help. They need hope. This is where AMIT comes in.
  • AMIT offers more than academic learning and technological training. AMIT provides religious instruction, as well, instilling Jewish values and a sense of tolerance, unity and respect.
  • These values, religious foundation, moral fiber and sound education distinguish AMIT students. They go out into the world prepared to assume responsible roles in Israeli society. AMIT helps Israel by helping the children of Israel.