We are delighted to welcome Rabbi Yossie Goldman, Director General of Hillel Israel with this open letter on just one of the many programs being implemented at Hillel Tel Aviv.
The concept of Jewish peoplehood is moving high on the Hillel agenda, as it becomes increasingly important to build bridges among Jewish communities around the world. The Ami”t project at Tel Aviv Hillel is engaging 25 young Israeli leaders to develop a sense of peoplehood and learn about how they can build connections between Israeli and North American students, helping to shape the future of the Jewish people. In the process, they develop leadership skills and strengthen their commitment to Jewish life.
The Ami”t project consists of weekly sessions that include text study and leadership training, and meetings with students from abroad. In addition to their theoretical training, participants also initiate new community-service projects on campus or in their communities. In one of these programs Ami”t participants recruited 30 students to harvest fruits and vegetables for distribution to needy families. Another initiative involved student volunteerism with Holocaust survivors. And a group of English-speaking students spent Shabbat together with Israeli students in Kibbutz Ketura in southern Israel , where many of the residents are immigrants from English-speaking countries. All of these initiatives help students refine their commitment to the Jewish community, in Israel and abroad.
This winter Ami”t participants spent a day with delegates to the Hillel International Leaders’ Assembly. This was an opportunity to share their experiences with one another and deepen their understanding of each others’ communities.
The aims of the project include strengthening ties between Israelis and Diaspora student communities in ways that help them understand the similarities and differences that each group faces as Jews in the modern world. Students discover and develop their leadership abilities and how they can contribute to Jewish peoplehood through community action and shlichut.
Ami”t is a joint project of Hillel Tel Aviv, the Jewish Agency’s HaOfek Division, and The International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies at the Diaspora Museum.
At the end of the year, some of the participants put their newly-acquired skills to the test by becoming Israel Fellows serving on North American college campuses. The Israel Fellows Program is a partnership between the Jewish Agency for Israel, Hillel, and Birthright Israel – Taglit. As Israel Fellows, the Ami”t graduates run Israel programming at Hillel centers on campus, work with students who return from birthright trips to Israel, and recruit students for Israel programs. This year, two Ami”t participants will travel to the US as Israel Fellows: Tal Kapulnik will be at Stanford University , and Yeara Arnon is going to San Francisco .
Ami”t is a leadership and peoplehood project that has proved itself at Tel Aviv Hillel. We hope to find the funding needed to run an Ami”t project at the other Hillel Israel centers as well.
With best regards,
As an aside, way back in November in one of my posts from the Nashville GA, the dynamic and engaging Pnina Gaday (Hillel Tel Aviv’s Director) was mentioned as one young Israeli already leaving her mark.