Our Heroes

Over the past two years, we’ve often written about the projects and the people, connected to the PresenTense network. Most of the stories have centered around their flagship fellowship program that takes place here in Jerusalem each summer. However, before there was a summer institute, there was PresenTense Magazine. Like eJewish Philanthropy, the magazine is as an all volunteer effort; one that “provides a nurturing environment where Jewish young adults are able to explore and enrich their Jewish identity within a pioneering framework.”

Their just-released issue deals with their Jewish Heroes.

We are grateful to the PresenTense team for permitting eJewish Philanthropy to share this issue with our readers. We also encourage you to share the various articles with your colleagues and friends (each one has a link so you may email) and then begin a dialogue right here in the comment section that follows every post. And, of course, please consider a subscription (through the link at the bottom) and help support the work we all benefit from.

We begin with an editorial from the PresenTense Group:

What does Jewish heroism mean to young Jews in the here and now? How will the actions of our generation’s heroes – and what they stand for – change the future? For this issue of PresenTense, our eleventh in print, we set out to address these questions of where our generation finds its inspiration. We discovered that our heroes include sportsmen and statesmen, community organizers and community builders. With their wisdom, charisma, and clarity of message, each has a compelling case to make as a role model whose impact could not only change the world, but also how we interact with it.

One trend appeared particularly strong – rather than siding with the most famous or popular, many of today’s young Jews tend to champion unique heroes whose message in some way speaks to them personally. Whether it’s a leader in the local community whose personal narrative inspires, a historic global leader who provided a message which resonates today, or someone entirely imagined to introduce a new message, these personal heroes give us insight into who we are, and who we can be.

Jewish heroes can teach us lessons applicable to our growth as young leaders. But how does this influence come about? In addition to citing individual instances of heroes, many of us thought it meaningful in contemplating heroism to examine the mechanism of magnetism and motivation and its effects on society. For a generation that is all about being proactive, it is perhaps natural for us to observe how the heroic example of one person can in turn cause others to take up the mantle of leadership in becoming activists for the cause.

Here at PresenTense, we believe in not only having important conversations around the meaning of heroism to young Jews, but also actively working to cultivate the heroes of our generation. In growing the next generation of social entrepreneurs, PresenTense is enabling young pioneers to launch their ideas into successful ventures, and simultaneously working to upgrade the Jewish People’s operating system to incorporate these new visions for the future. If you have an idea that will ignite a new path of Jewish heroism, we want to hear from you!

It goes without saying that all PresenTense’s contributors are our heroes – who are yours?

You can read the Jewish Heroes issue on the eJP website or subscribe to PresenTense Magazine to receive this, and future issues, delivered directly to you.

image courtesy Chari Pere