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Posts tagged ‘Sigalit Rubinson’

Profiles in Courage: The Next Israeli Chalutzim (Pioneers)

By Susie Sorkin

Sometimes, living an ordinary Israeli life takes a courage that most Americans never have to face. Residents of Sderot live with the reality that at any moment they will have 15 seconds to get into the nearest shelter. Soldiers live with the knowledge that when attacks happen, their job is to charge, not to retreat. Of course, most Israelis don’t face these physical dangers in their daily life. But the Israelis we met on our Consultation trip, showed remarkable courage in daring to dream and daring to fufill those dreams.

SEE ALL THE PHOTOS
Visit our online album to see all the amazing programs that were a part of our trip.

This next generation of chultzim (pioneers) are no longer content to let the government solve (or not solve) society’s problems or let the current social inequalities remain. Here are just a few of the courageous Israelis we met this week:

 Anwar Alh’jooj & Akiva Leibowitz – the co-chairs of the board of the HAGAR school, who helped found a school whose mission is to promote Jewish Arab education equality. They believe that all children deserve the right to learn equally and together. Against a backdrop of distrust and fear, they have built a community where not just the children become friends, but the parents do as well. They inspire others in Be’ersheba and beyond to see the possibilities of a shared dream for Israel.

Yehoshua is an Ultra Orthodox law student at Hebrew University and a member of the Shluechi Tsibur program, who is proudly completing his studies and plans to accept a summer position at the Supreme Court.  He still must keep his studies secret from his community for fear that his seven children will be ostracized. Yet, he, and the other Haredi students we met with at this program, believe so strongly that they can no longer sit by and let others take part in fulfilling the overall dream of Israeli’s future. Moreover, they do not want the media’s image of Haredi “monsters” to be the only image most Israelis see of their community. These Israelis know that they are on the cutting edge (not a term usually associated with the Haredi) and that their position is risky, but they believe that they are paving the way for future generations to be more integrated into Israeli society.

Ranit Budaie-Hyman is a recent graduate of our stellar Gvanim program. As her action project, she started a Gvanim-Knesset program to try to open the eyes of influential parliamentary advisors and spokespersons to pluralistic values in Israel. Through the program, she inspired them to find the courage bring up difficult issues to their ministers. They were influential in encouraging the government to finally implement the new mixed schools (combined religious and secular) law.

I was continually inspired by the extraordinary people that we met on our visit. Their courage, energy and spirit bode very well for Israel’s future.

Impressions: Thoughts on the JCF Israel Consultation Trip

From March 25-29 lay leaders and executive staff of the JCF visited Israel to see, meet, and experience a number of the programs that we support. Below are a collection of their thoughts, observations and perspectives.

SUSIE SORKIN:
“Sometimes, living an ordinary Israeli life takes a courage that most Americans never have to face. Residents of Sderot live with the reality that at any moment they will have 15 seconds to get into the nearest shelter. Soldiers live with the knowledge that when attacks happen, their job is to charge, not to retreat. Of course, most Israelis don’t face these physical dangers in their daily life. But the Israelis we met on our Consultation trip, showed remarkable courage in daring to dream and daring to fufill those dreams.”


SIGALIT RUBINSON:
“Each morning begins with breakfast briefings, delivered alongside bright tomatoes, savory pastries, creamy cheeses and the requisite coffee, and today brought us Benny Levin, Chair of the Israel Venture Network and Asher Elias of Tech Career.

If building a better Israel is the goal then the challenge is to marry management and business skills toward social good. Levin suggested that with the decrease in outside funding and the changing face of philanthropy, the monologue of overseas to Israel funding will finally become a dialogue – shifting the relationship from donor to partner.” 


MURRAY ZUCKER:
“Today, the expression “seeing is believing” was taken to a new level. The programs we visited and the people we got to meet were not only inspiring but showed how much can be accomplished to make profound social change in an Israel that is a just, pluralistic, and vibrant democracy.

One of the programs, Shachar Chadash (A New Dawn), provides a culturally acceptable way for Haredi (ultra orthodox) men to serve in the IDF where they get vocational training and support in finding meaningful employment after the service. The Haredi population is rapidly increasing: the men usually don’t work, their community lives off of welfare, they keep insulated – but exert a disproportionate political sway. Not only has this caused financial drain on the economy but increasing tensions and resentments among the majority of Israelis.”


GILAH ABELSON
“We visited a Jewish-Arab Israeli school where the integration has been so good that the families have a monthly hike and picnic together once a month which 200 people attend! The school is in Beer Sheva which is a mixed community and there is now a waiting list for admission! Very successful and hopefully a model for other mixed towns.”


JOELLE STEEFEL
“I realize that I’m seeing an Israel on the cusp of major change. The dreams of societal reorientation of five and ten years ago are becoming reality…There’s a new desire among entrepreneurs to reshape their country, to address problems with strategic philanthropy, and to partner with a community that works as a successful change agent. And change is everywhere.” 

Visit our website to learn more about the programs we support in Israel.
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