More than 1,000 young professionals and volunteer leaders from the US and Canada will arrive on Sunday for "Tel Aviv 1" - the United Jewish Communities' firstever young leadership convention held in the country.
The convention is created to inspire the next generation of Jewish federation leaders and donors's support of Israel.
The convention will host representatives from 17 communities, as well as more than 300 independent delegates from Jewish communities across North America.
During the five-day program, whose international chair is Matthew Bronfman, Tel Aviv 1 participants will meet experts in politics, industry and academia, as well as some of the country's leading young cultural figures.
The meetings are designed to help the visitors gain insight on how the Israeli media works, the threats posed by Iran and by terrorism, and Israel's strategic options in view of the recent changes in the region.
The young leaders will also visit projects involving the Jewish Agency, the Joint and the national project for Ethiopian immigrants.
For the past 25 years, UJC's young leadership has met in Washington. The convention in Tel Aviv is meant to generate interest among potential future leaders aged 25 to 40, and to increase involvement in Federation activities by bringing young Jews from North America closer to Israel and its problems and achievements.
"The importance of having the convention here is creating a connection between this leadership and the State of Israel and its young leadership," said Ron Lubash, Israel chair of Tel Aviv 1. "The connection between the two largest Jewish communities in the world is important for the future of Israel and for the strength of the Jewish community worldwide," he said.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for Israelis and Americans to meet and carry out a dialogue," said Nachman Shai, director-general of UJC in Israel."
"Tel Aviv 1 is an opportunity for different UJC communities to meet one another and to create an experience of solidarity, and for communities to have contact with their partners hips here," said Andy Katz, UJC mission manager in Israel.
A number of delegations, including those from Pittsburgh and Boston, will spend time with their Israeli partners prior to the conference, while others will do so after the convention ends.
Several dozen community leaders from Pittsburgh, for example, will spend two days with their partners in the Galilee, in Karmiel and in the Misgav region, visiting communities in the area, and embarking on a series of joint philanthropic, educational and cultural activities.
"Some of the people will be coming to Israel for the first time," Katz said. "They will be caught up in a whirlwind of activities and experiences that will be so completely different from their lives back home - yet which they can later take home. It then becomes the job of individual communities to keep up the level of excitement and generate activism and donations," he said.
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