“Recognizing the complex and unsolidified relationship between the self and the collective, and the local and the global, the summit will be held in a true multi-cultural environment and will be a true celebration of Jewish peoplehood. Summit participants will be representing Jewish communities stretched all across North and South America, Eastern and Western Europe as well as Israel, for this year’s participants will be joined by 30 officers of the Israeli army.” Masa’s Vision of the Leadership Summit
The Masa Leadership Summit is a five-day intensive learning opportunity that was open to all current post grad Masa participants. In the end only 200 young adults were selected from the pool of applicants. I think it goes to show the high quality of participants here at Tikkun Olam having such a high percentage of attendees from our comparatively small group. The goal is to help participants to successfully navigate the future of Jewish communities and to reach their global potential.
Below are the different experiences of current Tikkun Olam participants. I thank them all for be willing to share their stories with you.
The Leadership Summit was a valuable experience for me because it gave me access to numerous sessions and resources addressing being a Jewish leader in the modern world. For example, I attended talks about facilitation skills, how to create a vision for the future, as well as potential tangible next steps that I can take once my program ends. Being a part of this opportunity helped me realize that there are a number of paths I can take, and that it is important to stay proactive, especially in the frame of things I love to do.
Elana White, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Cognitive Science. She is a current participant of Tikkun Olam, interning at the Peres Center for Peace in the External Relations department as well as volunteering at an after school program called Kadima Yafo.
While being a member of Tikkun Olam has already had such an incredible impact on me, participating in the Summit gave me a new wave of energy. Being surrounded by 200 or so individuals all sharing a common love for Israel and Judaism, and dedicated towards creating positive change in the future reaffirmed the reason I chose to join a Masa program in the first place. As I listened to the daily speakers, and contributed to the deep discussions in the workshops it was so apparent that every participant there was invested not only to the Masa mission, but also to making a difference here and in their home communities. Throughout the seminar there was so much positive energy; friendships were being formed, ideas were being challenged it was such a unique atmosphere to be apart of. A specific workshop lead by one of the summit faculty members, and my home group leader, Yaffa Epstein, titled “Can the Jewish People Really Talk to Each Other? What gets in the way of real open communication in the Jewish community?” really stuck with me. Coming from a person who has had the privilege of experiencing several different sects of Judaism, an issue I have repeatedly seen is our inability to talk with each other. In this workshop we discussed the difference between agreeing with one another vs. communicating with each other. As Jews it is in our blood to argue, nonetheless it is still important to remember that our own perspectives and opinions should not be the thing preventing unity within the Jewish people.
Shana Feld, originally from the Denver, Colorado, is a recent graduate of The University of Texas at Austin where she graduated with a degree in Psychology/Sociology. She spends her volunteer time with Tikkun Olam, at Beit Holland, a preschool for children with special needs, Lilach, an after school center for impoverished, at risk youth and The Florentine Elderly Center.
A few weeks ago I attended Masa’s Leadership Seminar. Leadership is a topic that I have always been passionate for. Having the opportunity to not only learn more about leadership, but how to work on becoming a Jewish leader was something I was really looking forward to. One of the many things that really stuck with me after the seminar was this encouragement to challenge the way things are done and try new things. I left the seminar thinking about the future of Judaism and what my role was in keeping Judaism alive. I was also left with many questions. What stories will I tell the future generations of Jews? How can I share my Jewish values? What has worked for me and what has not worked for me in regards to being a successful individual? Between learning about how to make a memorable speech and hearing success stories of participants who now have start-up companies, I was asked to step out of my comfort box, and try something new! I have been asked to critically look at my strengths and values and figure out how these traits will influence my leadership. I have been asked to try a new method of fundraising for organizations I am involved with. I have been asked to take these experiences and share them with the people that I know and love. These are all things that I will keep with me for the rest of my life.
Rachel Waldorf, from Freehold, NJ, is a recent graduate of Rutgers University with a B.A. in Psychology and Jewish studies. A current participant of Tikkun Olam, she is lives in Yafo and volunteers at the Florentine Elderly Center, The Women’s Courtyard, and Ironi Zayin doing various activities from Zumba to arts and crafts and teaching English classes.