In communities from South America to New Zealand, local Jews are faced with a mounting wave of anti-Semitism, spilling into the streets, online media, sports fields and learning institutions. As the scourge of Jew hatred intensifies, our leadership has been paralyzed, unable to adapt from decades of relative calm to today’s eruptions of bigotry and anti-Jewish attacks. What we need are new leaders to invigorate our communal institutions, and who best to accomplish this other than our youngest and brightest? I am glad to report that the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has made developing future leaders a prime priority and I want to highlight a small part of their work.
The JDC was founded in 1914 and is today the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. One of its core missions is grooming future community leaders. With programs like Entwine, JDC gives North American young adults exposure to the wider Jewish Diaspora and its affairs. Through the Global Jewish Service Corps Fellowship, JDC Entwine provides young Jewish influencers and advocates a fully paid, year-long service experience in Jewish communities in locations like India, Argentina, Turkey, Hungary, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Israel and more. Once there, fellows create “innovative programs that respond to specific needs [of local communities], gain an understanding of pressing global challenges, and explore Jewish values underlying their service”. Herehttp://www.jdcentwine.org/jsc you can learn more about some of the past and current accomplished Jewish Service Corps fellows and the amazing activities they’ve been involved with at home and around the globe. Understanding that many young leaders have commitments preventing them from embarking on the year-long fellowship, JDC Entwine also offers shorter trips for young professional to travel to global Jewish communists for 10 days and expose themselves to the lives and trials of other diaspora Jewry.
Through JDC Entwine foreign service trips, our communities’ future leaders are gaining first hand familiarity with the greater Jewish world. Participants will take these experiences along with them as they rise through the ranks of our Jewish intuitions and engage North American Jewish society. Connecting with other Diaspora Jews reinforces our shared sense of klal Yisrael, Jewish peoplehood. We are all facing the growing threat of anti-Semitism together, and the more we know about one another, the better we can all work to protect our respective communities and each other.
“All Israel is responsible for one another”
(Shavuot, Psehamim 39a)