The Ministry of Information and the Diaspora, in conjunction with World ORT and Stephen Muss, launched a new project this year aimed at inspiring and nurturing the next generation of leadership for local Jewish communities across Europe and the Former Soviet Union. An initial cohort of 32 students, representing 18 countries and between 15 and 18 years old, was selected based on the quality of their applications and the dedication that they had already demonstrated to their schools and in their Jewish communities.
The programs’ aim is to nurture their leadership potential and to help them to become fully involved in their communities, dedicating their energy, enthusiasm, and skills towards building long-term, sustainable change – helping to revitalize Jewish life and to actively contribute to the ‘renaissance’ of Diaspora Jewry in the 21st century.
The accepted applicants met online every 3-4 weeks throughout the program for training, to discuss issues relevant to their personal development, and to the improvement of their individual Jewish communities.
The Future Leaders first gathered in London for a five-day seminar in April. The main objectives for the participants included building a support system with one another in order to strengthen their leadership skills and to establish a strong international network.
During the months following the Seminar, each of the participants worked for a Jewish communal organization in their local area alongside a professional who acted as their mentor. This experience will be documented in individual blogs that the participants are encouraged to share with one another.
The group is currently in Israel for a three-week summer program designed to build on the foundations laid in London and the online seminars. The Future Leaders will participate in classes on developing leadership skills and travel to many of the historical and cultural sites throughout the country. The Israel leg of the program concludes on August 25th.
This past Sunday the participants met with Yuli Edelstein, Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs, and Gideon Shavit, Chairman of Lapid, who spoke about the importance of bringing more young people to Israel.
The next steps in the journey for the Future Leaders will be for them to deepen their commitment to their local Jewish communities. Most of the group have voluntarily taken on the challenge of promoting a Mitzvah Day in each of their communities next year.
image courtesy Lapid