Jewish communities from across the globe will take part in a three-day online brainstorming marathon next week, February 16-18. The event will open the floor to all Jews to help formulate strategies for strengthening both Jewish identity and Israel-Diaspora relations while ensuring the Jewish world continues to flourish well into the future.
The event is being organized by the Government of Israel and World Jewry Joint Initiative and is designed to expand the debate on the future of the Jewish people to every individual, community, or organization interested in taking part.
Groups and individuals from Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States have already confirmed their participation. The marathon will be run out of Jerusalem where some two dozen professionals will analyze participants’ insights and examine ways to integrate them into the recommendations set to be presented to the Israeli government in the near future.
Organizers say this process sets a new precedent. “We are catching up to global models of decision making and understand that we do not have all the solutions ourselves. This marathon aims to widen the decision making process and open the floor to the wisdom of the Jewish people’s masses,” they said.
The Government of Israel and World Jewry Joint Initiative is being spearheaded by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs in partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel. It is a joint effort by the Government of Israel and Jewish communities to identify the challenges facing the Jewish people today and subsequently formulate long-term plans to strengthen Jewish identity and ties between Israel and the Jewish world.
The organizers state that the initiative embodies the sense of joint responsibility shared with the Israeli government and world Jewry to ensure Jewish continuity and robust Israel-Diaspora ties. It was initiated due to a growing sense that both Jewish identity and connections to Israel are becoming less certain, particularly among younger Jews. Funding will be split between the Government of Israel and Jewish communities, and the initiative is set to be brought for government approval this year and to be implemented in 2015.
Dozens of interviews with Jewish leaders from around the world have already taken place as part of the initiative. In November 2013, 120 leaders from Jewish communities, organizations, foundations, and Israeli government ministries gathered at a planning summit in Jerusalem. The event was attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett, Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Nathan Sharansky, Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Harel Locker, Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Director-General Dvir Kahana, and Jewish Agency Director-General Alan Hoffmann, as well as senior officials from their offices.
Following the summit, participants have continued the work and further discussed, refined, updated a set of recommendation papers within thematic content groups dealing with seven major areas: Jewish life and Israel engagement on campus, immersive experiences, follow-up on immersive experiences, Israel and peoplehood education in formal institutions, Israel and peoplehood education in informal settings, serving the global good and aliyah of young professionals.
Participants in next week’s online marathon will be encouraged to take part in the debate surrounding these seven key topics. To further expand the conversation and receive input from as broad a segment of the Jewish people as possible, the session will be “crowd sourced,” ensuring that the recommendations reflect a diversity of views and perspectives beyond those traditionally heard in Jewish communal forums.
Tazpit News Agency