This year’s Diaspora Week took place in Israel after a particularly challenging year for the Jewish people around the world.
Events were held under the banner “We are an eternal people” and the hashtag “#FOREVER_AM.” The hashtag was chosen to illustrate the resilience of the Jewish people, which has remained intact despite countless upheavals.
The current situation in Russia and Ukraine helps people appreciate the fact that Jews everywhere have strong backing and support from Jews throughout the world who are ready to help in times of need.
Data from the Diaspora Index for 2022 published this week show that 62% of Israelis agree that the State of Israel has a moral obligation to help Jews worldwide who are suffering from economic difficulties or natural disasters. In contrast, only 37% of Israelis feel a sense of personal responsibility toward Diaspora Jews who have chosen not to immigrate to Israel.
The data in the index reveal a complex situation and sharpen the need for the State of Israel’s support for Diaspora Jewry. This information is in the shadow of many antisemitic incidents that have intensified in the US, Europe and many other countries.
Diaspora Week has been held each year in Israel following Government Decision 1656, which was passed in the 34th government in 2016 by then-education minister Naftali Bennett. Its goal is to strengthen ties and mutual guarantees between the State of Israel and Jews in the Diaspora.
This year, hundreds of activities were held throughout the country. AMI, the National Alliance Strengthening Israelis’ Connection to World Jewry, presented a number of unique activities during the week. These included “The People at the Bar,” a project in which dozens of former Jewish Agency emissaries went to bars around the country to speak about their experiences. Discussions took place on the open-ended questions concerning young Jews in the Diaspora and how a fruitful relationship can exist with young people in Israel.
The Diaspora Culture Festival was held at the Anu Museum, which included a new exhibition titled Bnei Menashe Community: All of the Diaspora is part of the story; a Jewish fashion show of the Diaspora; a video with previously unseen original photos of Leonard Cohen from his visits to Israel; an “American Night” evening in collaboration with the Ruderman Foundation; a live musical performance of cover versions of songs of Amy Winehouse and Leonard Cohen, and more.
“Diaspora Journey,” held in cooperation with Masa, was a one-day trip of couples consisting of young Israelis and youths from outside Israel, with the participation of 1,000 Israeli youths and young people from the Diaspora who are in Israel in various programs. Excursions were held in cooperation with Masa, the joint council of the pre-military preparatory schools, the youth movements and the World Zionist Organization.
The Hillel on campus Israel organization set up booths for social involvement on campuses, a game area on the subject of Jewish communities around the world, and operated a section including meeting with returning emissaries and a discussion on missions and Jewish communities.
In addition, the Education Ministry held a range of formal and informal activities, including some that brought together teens from the Diaspora and Israel, including 300 new immigrants and participants from Jewish Agency programs abroad who will lecture in schools. The educational value of Diaspora Week was reflected through new curriculum kits, including links to content, videos, articles and online programs to raise awareness and strengthen the connection between students in Israeli schools and students in Diaspora schools
Diaspora Week took place for under the leadership of the Diaspora Affairs Ministry and in collaboration with the following organizations: The President’s House, the Jewish Agency, the IDF, the National Civil Service Authority, Masa, Ami, Anu-the Museum of the Jewish People, Hillel, the Ruderman Family Foundation, the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, youth movements and others.
Translated by Alan Rosenbaum.
The story appears in cooperation with the Diaspora Affairs Ministry.