About Bnei Akiva
Bnei Akiva inspires and empowers young Jews with a sense of commitment to the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and the Torah. As the largest Jewish youth movement in the UK, Bnei Akiva runs weekly activities, summer and winter camps, tours and gap years in Israel, and so much more!
We’re an inclusive youth movement, so while we have high religious standards, everyone is welcome. And wherever you go in the world, you’ll find Bnei Akiva – we have branches in 37 countries all over the globe!
‘Bnei Akiva’ means ‘the children of Akiva’, and our ideology relates directly to the story of Rabbi Akiva. At the age of 40, after growing up tending flock, he decided that he needed to find out the essence of the Jewish faith. He reasoned that just as something as soft as water can penetrate a solid rock and cause it to erode, so too can the Torah penetrate into himself.
We endeavour to follow Rabbi Akiva’s qualities, namely his love of Hashem, his devotion to the Torah, his love of Israel and the fight for its independence, and respect for work.
Bnei Akiva gives young Jewish people a framework to live a religious lifestyle in the modern world and a mission to make an active contribution to our community and the State of Israel.
Our Ideology is that of Torah, Avodah v’Aliyah. In a nut shell, that expresses itself as Religious Zionism and Modern Orthodoxy. We at Bnei Akiva couple the challenges of living an orthodox Jewish Life within the modern world as well as promoting the need to make a positive contribution to Israel, in Israel.
BACHAD – Friends of Bnei Akiva
Friends of Bnei Akiva is a registered charity whose stated aims are to promote Jewish religious education and provide educational and vocational training for Jewish youth.
Friends of Bnei Akiva works closely, in a spirit of friendship and co-operation, with Bnei Akiva. Its members, made up of parents, former members and well-wishers, fundraise for capital projects, as well as supporting Bnei Akiva with funds for its educational work.
Friends of Bnei Akiva also provide grants for needy individual children to go towards the cost of various Bnei Akiva camps, Israel trips, and other events.
Only in Britain is there this unique partnership spanning the generations. It happens in no other country and for no other movement.
Bnei Akiva is more than just a cohort of individuals, we are a united community of like minded, young individuals. There are several stages of your journey throughout Bnei Akiva. You start off as a Chanich where you will attend regular programming and learn about our ideology and what makes us unique. As you approach adulthood, you will transition into being a Madrich, starting on your journey of leadership. A Madrich is an empowered young individual who will act as a leader, innovator and informal educator for our Chanichim. After graduating from school you become a Boger of the movement, remaining a Madrich to guide the Tnua but also as a driving force, shaping what Bnei Akiva means. We describe ourselves as a youth movement, constantly changing and reshaping, moving with the times. To become part of this incredible community, all you need to do is sign up for your Mas Chaver.
Meet The Team
Bnei Akiva is made of our Chanichim, Madrichim, Bogrim, Nivcharim, Mazkirut and Shlichim, with each catagory providing a key role to the Tnua. There are currently four members of the Bnei Akiva Mazkirut, Joe Boxer, Hannah Denby, Eli Gaventa and Josh Zeltser.
We also have two Shlichim families Rav Aharon & Rabanit Shira Hirskovitz in London and Benaya & Maayan Cohen in Manchester
Mazkir and National Director – Joe studied at Hasmonean High School before moving to Yavneh College for Sixth Form. He later went on Hachsharat Torani with Bnei Akiva at Yeshivat Eretz HaTzvi before studying Economics, Finance and Management at Queen Mary. He has been a dedicated member of Bnei Akiva for most of his life, starting as a chanich in Belmont Sviva. He moved through the ranks of Bnei Akiva holding numerous tafkidim along the way including; Rosh Sviva twice, Madrich of Israel Machane, Sgan and Rosh machane. He has also worked in many roles beyond just Bnei Akiva, he was a madrich for Yavneh College on their Israel trip, he was employed for 3 years as a Sunday Cheder teacher and is an active member of Belmont United Synagogue, where he frequently leads Tefilla and gives Shiurim. In 5775 (2014/15) he was the Rosh Nivchar (Chairman) of Bnei Akiva which was a year that inspired him to later become Mazkir.
Technical Director and Camps coordinator – Growing up in Edgware, Hannah attended Edgware United Sviva every week from the age 3 and went on to become a Madricha and Sganit there. After completing our leadership training, H-Course she has held several Tafkidim in our Tnua including; Madricha both on the technical and Hadracha tsevet, Headcook, Sganit and Rosh Machane, Madricha on Israel Machane and as a Nivcheret on our Hanhallah. Hannah attended Rosh Pinah Primary School before moving onto Hasmonean High School for Girls. During her time at school she took part in volunteering for organisations such as Kisharon and spent time supporting a family in her community. After finishing school she took a Gap year completing our Lehava programme in Israel before returning to the UK to study Early Childhood Studies at Birmingham City University.
Chinuch Worker – Eli is an educator, activist and photographer. Eli has worked with many different communal groups in a variety of capacities including Sinai Youth, Tzedek UK, the JDC, the NIF, UJS, the Yoni Jesner Foundation and RESHET. He is currently working as Community Events Director at Muswell Hill United Synagogue and as Chinuch Worker for Bnei Akiva UK. As a photographer he has worked in Ghana, Hungary and the UK. He studied Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at University of the Arts: London. He spent two years studying at Yeshivat Har Etzion (the Gush) and was recently nominated as number 10 in the 30 under 30 Jewish News list.
Svivot Fieldworker and Communities Director – Josh grew up in Woodside Park, attended Wolfson Hillel Primary school and then moved over to Hasmonean High school for his secondary education. Throughout this time, Josh was a regular attendee at Woodside Park Sviva and later became a Madrich and Sgan in years 11-13. After school Josh spent a year at Yeshivat Hakotel on the BA Torani programme. Josh then studied Computing at Imperial College London where he received a Bachelors in Engineering. During this time Josh was a Rosh at Woodside Park Sviva for two years. Since he was 17 Josh has held many Tafkidim at Bnei Akiva Machanot, including Madrich, TO, Sgan and was a Madrich on Israel Machane in 2016. Josh was also a member of the Hanhallah (governing body) in 2015-16.