German-speaking Jewish leaders gather at the Western Wall in Jerusalem..
(photo credit: YOEL KOSKAS PHOTOGRAPHY & ART)
Some 150 young Jewish leaders from German-speaking countries gathered in Jerusalem over the weekend for an annual event hosted by the Jewish Agency for Israel.
According to JAFI, this is the largest annual gathering of its kind. It is usually held in Europe, but took place in Israel’s capital this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.
The three-day event began on Friday and ended Sunday, and sought to show participants different aspects of Jerusalem while providing a platform for the Jewish leaders to network and connect with one another.
“We showed them different faces of Jerusalem,” said JAFI representative in Berlin Katia Novominski, who participated in the annual convention for the ninth time. “We saw modern Jerusalem, the development of arts and culture, and young people who are changing the face of the city.”
Participants of the “Jerusalem of hi-tech” track, for example, visited a program of Made in Jerusalem, a nonprofit organization founded with the goal of transforming and positioning the capital as one of the top 20 innovative cities in the world. They also visited the computer school at Hebrew University and the Azrieli College of Engineering.
“Jerusalem as a capital of hi-tech and academia is not the first thing you think of when you think of the city,” Novominski told The Jerusalem Post.
The other tracks were: archeological discoveries; the social fabric of the city; and education.
Addressing the focus of the summit on the city, event organizer Michael Yedovitzky said the organization felt a “moral responsibility” to generate discussion about the reunification of Jerusalem “because we are the only ones who are talking about it.”
“It’s not so discussed in Europe, including in Jewish organizations,” he told the Post
He noted that many of the participants come from small disconnected Jewish communities, making the event important in bringing them together to connect with representatives of other Jewish communities, focusing on Shabbat, Jewish tradition and Israel.