History of the Bnei Akiva Movement

Bnei Akiva is an international Religious Zionist Youth Movement that inspires and empowers Jewish youth with a deep commitment to Am Yisrael (our people), Eretz Yisrael (our land), and Torat Yisrael (our Torah).

More than 45,000 youths in 34 countries participate in Bnei Akiva’s youth-led activities, including informal educational programs, summer camps and summer and gap-year Israel programs. The significance of Bnei Akiva reaches beyond the student and positively impacts the entire family and the wider Jewish community. Students often continue their affiliation with Bnei Akiva well past high school into college and adulthood.

Bnei Akiva was created after World War I as a youth movement connected with the Mizrachi movement of religious laborers, committed to building up the land of Israel as pioneers. In 1958 Mizrachi-affiliated youth groups in Israel and the rest of the world came together to form Bnei Akiva.

Bnei Akiva was named for the Mishnaic Rabbi Akiva, a shepherd who began learning Torah at the age of 40. Rabbi Akiva’s perseverance and his love of God, Torah and Israel are ideals integral to Bnei Akiva’s mission.

Bnei Akiva members strive to live the Bnei Akiva motto of Torah V’Avodah, combining Torah learning and observance of mitzvot with active contributions to the Jewish people and the land of Israel. Bnei Akiva cultivates young leaders who take initiative, who assume responsibility for the worldwide Jewish community.

Bnei Akiva has snifim (chapters) all around the world. Local snifim bring members together for regular Shabbat meetings filled with Torah and Israel, friends and fun. High school madrichim (counselors) take leadership roles, planning and running activities for younger participants, giving generously and growing tremendously in the process.