About – “Community” project
The Gesher Leadership Course, in conjunction with Ministry for Diaspora Affairs, has initiated the “Community” project to expand the knowledge base and deepen the connection between public opinion leaders in Israel and Diaspora Jewry. The program is based on the premise that the State of Israel and Diaspora Jewry are part of one people, and are together responsible for the spiritual and physical survival of the Jewish people wherever they live. The program offers Israeli leaders and opinion makers the unique opportunity to learn about Diaspora Jewish communities and connect with them by means of dialogue and meaningful meetings with diaspora Jewish communities in the framework of a meaningful course.
The “Community” project will be comprise of ten courses with 20 participants each, including in-depth visits to Jewish communities in the Diaspora.
Why is all this necessary?
Israeli public discourse has virtually no interest in Diaspora Jewry. The predominant view in Israel is that Diaspora Jewry is obligated to support and invest in the State of Israel, and while we take note of our Diaspora brethren in times of tragedy, familiarity with the world of values and challenges that face Diaspora communities is virtually non-existent. This initiative reflects the change in thinking on the part of the State of Israel in its relationship to Diaspora Jewry in recent years.
The project is designed to provide the participants with information about current trends in Diaspora Jewry and challenges in Israel-Diaspora relations, strengthen the sense of Jewish peoplehood, and provide tools and direction for potential activities of opinion leaders, each in his own field, in order to connect Israeli society to Diaspora Jewry and strengthen its connection with world Jewry.
In the framework of the course, the participants will undergo a meaningful group experience of outreach and dialogue, and will visit a Diaspora Jewish community as a group delegation.
The course will serve as a support platform for the initiatives of the participants in Israel-Diaspora relations.
The course will last approximately two months and include the following components:
Five regular sessions of five hours a week, once a week.
An in-depth visit as a group delegation from Israel to a Diaspora Jewish community. The visit will last eight days on average. The target communities include New York, Los Angeles, Johannesburg, and London, among others.
Leveraging initiatives and social leadership
Unique networking opportunities among the participants
The course will include the following content areas:
Information about Diaspora Jewry
The Jewish people and its mosaic of identities
Connection between Diaspora Jewry and Israel
Challenges in Diaspora-Israel relations
Providing practical tools to lead projects about the Diaspora
The Diaspora community visit constitutes the highlight of the course and will include: visits to important communal organizations and their leaders; meetings with senior Israeli envoys such as the ambassador or consul; visits to educational institutions; meeting top Rabbinic figures, business leaders, media personalities, and the like.
20-25 public opinion leaders, who fill senior roles in their respective fields (IDF, the public and non profit sector, business, law, academia, media and the like) drawn from a wide spectrum of the Israeli population (secular, haredim, religious, traditional, new immigrants, center and periphery, men and women), which will make up a select group, and participate in the course and engage in collegial discourse and mutual respect.