Bnei Akiva’s core values stem directly from our rich ideology.
A look at what we believe in:
We proudly believe in a religious Zionist ideology, which combines the twin values of Torah (Jewish values, learning and practice) and Avodah (living a Modern Orthodox lifestyle and contributing to the State of Israel) into one holistic vision. The ultimate realization of this vision is Aliyah, where we play our part in building our national and spiritual home. This vision is encompassed in the motto ‘Torah Va’Avodah’ – Torah & Work.
Starting in the 1929, a group of passionate youth formed what today is known as Bnei Akiva – a movement dedicated to growing oneself whilst growing the world around them. It has, and always will be, a movement for the youth, run by the youth. We aim to inspire all those within the movement to shift from being takers into givers as they contribute to their local community as well as to the Land of Israel.
The Avodah aspect of Bnei Akiva’s ideology, in the past, referred to the agricultural growth of the land. However, today, Bnei Akiva Alumni are present is all arenas of Israeli life, from hi-tech to education. This modernising shift has allowed Bnei Akiva’s ideology to remain relevant to the youth of the current generation as we hope to inculcate within every individual the centrality of Torah Ve’Avodah in their everyday lives.
The “Semel”, Bnei Akiva’s emblem, is made up of different objects each relating to a different aspect of the group’s ideology. The farming utensils and the wheat sheaves relate to the original agricultural perspective of the ideology. The two tablets of stone in the center relate to the Torah perspective. The two perspectives of Torah and Avoda are united together by the ribbon which says Bnei Akiva on it – symbolizing that the two aspects can only and must work hand in hand. The letters on the two tablets are the Hebrew letters ‘Taf’ and ‘Ayin’ standing for Torah veAvoda (“Torah and work”).
Story of Rabbi Akiva
As the name translates – “the children of Akiva”, the idea of Bnei Akiva relates directly to the story of Rabbi Akiva. At the age of 40 years old, after growing up tending flock, he changed his ways and decided that he needed to find out the essence of the Jewish faith. The story is told of how it happened:
One day while attending to his flock, he noticed a rock onto which droplets of water kept dripping. He thought that if something as soft as water can penetrate this solid rock and cause it to erode, so can the Torah penetrate into me – a shepherd who at this time was solid in his ways. Thus we strive to be like Rabbi Akiva for his three qualities: (a) his love of Hashem, a steadfast devotion to the Torah and his ultimate martyrdom at the hands of the Romans, (b) his love of Israel and his fight for its independence, (c) his love of labour and his respect for it, remembering always his early life.