‘Next generation’ of European Jewish leaders in Israel

Three-week youth leadership program aimed at fostering leadership skills and reinforcing communities across the continent.

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August 11, 2011 05:51
1 minute read.
World ORT Jewish leadership program

World ORT Jewish leadership program 311. (photo credit: Yitzhak Harrari)

 
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The Ministry of Information and the Diaspora, in conjunction with Jewish educational organization World ORT, has brought a group of 32 Jewish teenagers from across Europe to Israel for a three-week youth leadership program aimed at fostering leadership skills and reinforcing communities across the continent.

The group, consisting of 15-17- year-olds from western and eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the Balkans, arrived on Sunday and will be touring the length and breadth of the country to learn about its history and heritage while also receiving leadership training.

Minister Yuli Edelstein affirmed in a statement the importance of building a new generation of communal leaders saying that the seminar “will prepare the participants to be leaders in their communities and as well as providing them with the ability to broaden the understanding of Israel abroad.”

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The group will be visiting Jerusalem, Masada, Mount Herzl, the Negev and Galilee, engaging in debate about the challenges facing Israel today and formulating ways to build connections between Jewry in the Diaspora and the Jewish State.

Upon returning to their home countries the participants will initiate a project for the development of their local Jewish community.

“The biggest challenge facing the Jewish community in the UK is the passing of responsibility from the older generation of Jewish leaders to the new generation,” said 15-year-old James Walters from Bath in the UK.

“We need to help Jewish life evolve and help increase participation and this is what the program is about.”

Zacharie Petit, 16, from Paris, said that Jewish life in Paris is good and that it’s not hard to be Jewish in the city.

“There needs to be more input from the community though, especially in helping those in less fortunate circumstances and living in the poorer neighborhoods,” he said. “We also have to deepen Jewish education and provide a greater level of understanding about the roots and basis of Judaism."

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