Reviving Jewish life in the Diaspora – if not now, never

Former Israeli diplomat and regional representative of Jewish education NGO says if we don't act now to connect Jews in the Diaspora to their roots, their children and grandchildren will be lost to the Jewish people.

 David Benish
Photo by: courtesy

Born in the Former Soviet Union (FSU), former Israeli diplomat David Benish grasped the opportunity to make an impact in this area, by re-connecting Jews to their roots and Israel through education. World ORT Representative in the CIS and Baltic States Benish discusses with The Jerusalem Post the organization's goals, achievements and plans for the future.

How did you get involved in World ORT?

I worked for the Israeli government (Nativ) in the region of the FSU since 1996. Being an Israeli diplomat I had connections to Jewish schools and Jewish education in the FSU, through which I got acquainted with World ORT activities in those states. In 2008 I moved to work for World ORT.

Why have you chosen to work in your regions of focus in particular?

I was born in the FSU but raised in Israel. After the fall of the Iron Curtain I felt that there was an opportunity for me to take part in the historical process of reviving Jewish life in that area and to contribute to aliya to Israel.

Where are you based?

In Kiev; most of my time is devoted to the main offices in the FSU - Moscow and Kiev. Actually, I travel a lot – usually, once or twice a week I travel to one of the 40 locations of World ORT activities in the FSU.

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