A new World ORT program aims to bury the notion that Europe is a graveyard for Jewish culture and activism.
The Future Leaders Program has brought together 34 teenagers from Ireland to Russia – 18 countries in all – for the first face-to-face sessions in its six-month schedule of training, education, distance learning and volunteering.
“When people talk about Jewish communities it’s often the USA and Israel while Europe is sometimes referred to as the ‘graveyard of Europe’, the place where their grandparents and great-grandparents are buried,” the Head of World ORT’s Education Department, Daniel Tysman, told participants and guests at ORT House, London, this week.
“But it’s very clear from seeing you all here today that Europe isn’t a graveyard; Europe is full of green shoots, full of exciting new initiatives, full of growth, and you are part of that growth.”
The program is designed to address the needs of smaller communities in particular, supporting their continuity as well as fostering an appreciation of their symbiotic relationship with the Jewish State. It will culminate with an intensive three-week summer school in Israel.
The European Jewish Fund (EJF) and Israel’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs are also investing in the endeavor.