Degel Menashe Launches 2023-24 Scholarship Program
(September 21) Degel Menashe announced this week that, starting October 1, it will be accepting applications for its 2023-24 academic scholarship program. Made by Executive Director Yitzhak Thangjom, the announcement set a November 30 deadline for applications to be submitted. Scholarship winners will be notified by the end of December, and the scholarship money will be dispensed soon afterwards.
“This year’s program is our best endowed ever,” Thangjom told our Newsletter. “It’s our fifth season since the program’s beginning in January, 2020 and every year has seen an increase in the number of applicants, scholarships awarded, and funds allocated. Last year we had 21 award winners. We hope that the current year will see more.”
As in previous years, applicants are required to have at least one B’nei Menashe parent, to be in possession of bagrut (high school matriculation) certificates, and to be registered at a recognized academic institution in Israel. A new feature of the program this year, Thangjom told us, is that scholarship winners will be required to contribute several hours of their time in the course of the year to B’nei Menashe community service.
Thangjom also hopes there will be less of an imbalance this year between male and female award winners. “For every young man applying in the past,” he says, “there have been five or more young women. This reflects a situation in which many more B’nei Menashe girls are choosing to pursue academic studies than B’nei Menashe boys. One reason for this may be that the boys are expected by their families to go to work and contribute to their family’s income as quickly as possible, whereas girls are given more leeway.”
Another reason, Thangjom suggests, may be a lack of confidence among B’nei Menashe boys that they can succeed in in an academic environment. “In traditional B’nei Menashe society,” he points out, “the man was the breadwinner and undisputed head of his household, yet most B’nei Menashe children in Israel today see their fathers mired in minimum-wage, low-prestige work in factories and elsewhere. Too many B’nei Menashe boys see this as their fate, too, and don’t believe in their ability to go further. Young B’nei Menashe women seem to be less affected, perhaps because they identify with their fathers less. They tend to have more ambition and more faith in themselves. We have to encourage young B’nei Menashe men to feel the same way. Right now, the high school drop-out rate among them is very high. This is an issue that needs to be addressed.”
All in all, however, Thangjom says, Degel Menashe’s scholarship program has been a resounding success. “We’ve had 59 scholarship recipients to date,” he sums up, “sixteen of whom have already received either a college degree or a a professional diploma and two of whom have successfully completed their Masters’ degrees. Our award winners are studying in a wide range of fields – social work, nursing, education, computer science, architecture, business administration, medical technology, interior decorating, and industrial design to name some. They will all go on to make a significant contribution to Israeli society and to the B’nei Menashe community, which is on the whole, unfortunately, stuck at the bottom of Israel’s social and economic ladder. It needs to start climbing it. Our program is meant to help it to do so.”
Application forms for Degel Menashe’s 2023-24 scholarship can be gotten by sending a request for them to Yitzhak Thangjom, email: email@example.com, phone: 054 6707853.