Wanted: Leaders who don’t want to be leaders

After the Iran deal, young Jews should be asking... and ready to answer

People take part in the 51st annual Israel parade in New York in May. (photo credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS)
People take part in the 51st annual Israel parade in New York in May.
(photo credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS)
The world is undergoing a tectonic shift. Dramatic changes of the kind not seen for decades are shaking the Middle East, from ISIS’s onslaught in Iraq to the civil war in Syria, Saudi Arabia’s proxy war in Yemen to fighting in Sinai. Instability is rampant and Israel’s existence is threatened.
But it’s the Iran deal that potentially turns these minor and perhaps manageable earthquakes into “the big one” – the kind that could lead to total devastation.
It’s not just about the nuclear bomb. This is a deal that empowers and emboldens the largest terrorist-support regime on the planet, one that openly calls for the annihilation of America and Israel, systematically violates human rights and promotes radical Islam. A rejuvenated Iran, flush in cash after sanctions are removed, is a very big deal indeed.
The earthquake analogy is apt. As with any “potential” disaster or future unpleasantness, it is part of our nature to procrastinate and rationalize rather than take action.
But it’s precisely at times like these that the world – and the Jewish people – needs to be proactive. We need leaders.
Not only elected leaders, or heads of educational or nonprofit organizations – or leaders who pander to opinion polls rather than doing what’s right.
We need leaders who don’t want to be leaders. We need ordinary people who understand that we live in extraordinary times. Such was the leadership of Moses, who when confronted by G-d at the burning bush, felt unqualified to confront Pharaoh.
But he was reassured by G-d that he would not be alone.
We are not alone. Each of us has innate abilities and G-d-given potential. We cannot sit back and let other people figure things out. It’s a Jewish responsibility to use our minds, devise steps and take action.
It may not succeed. The steps may be small, but we are required to act for ourselves. We have a personal obligation to show that we care.
This is particularly relevant for our high school-aged children. As much as we’d like to shield them from life’s harsh realities, they need to know the truth. It is their future that is being gambled away. And they will be the ones left to face the post– seismic aftermath.
It’s time for us to recognize that we are living on fault lines, and we have to start dealing with them. BDS, Islamic terrorism, anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity on campus are cracks in our deceptively comfortable existence. And they are growing.
It’s the reason I started the Core18 Fellowships, a course designed for post-high school students to educate and cultivate the unique leadership ability that we all possess. The kids who care enough to come to Israel for a year are exactly the “every day” leaders who can make a difference to themselves and the Jewish community.
And if you – or someone you know – are joining an Israel gap program this coming year, check us out at www.core18.org.
The author is CEO and founder of Jerusalem U. He is the producer of Crossing the Line, Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference, Beneath the Helmet and several other films.