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A Critical Opportunity for Diaspora Jews

Image created by author, using DALL-E Glibatree Art Designer.
Image created by author, using DALL-E Glibatree Art Designer.

One major challenge Diaspora Jews are facing today is the strength of the disinformation narrative about our nation’s history and current affairs, combined with the weakness of our collective education and understanding of it. When faced with questions and willingness to learn more from non-Jewish colleagues and connections, Diaspora Jews need the education and skills to listen, seek to understand, and then communicate accurate facts confidently, clearly and in a graceful manner.  

In his book, Future Tense, the late Rabbi Sacks explained that since the millennium, there have been a series of dysfunctional responses on behalf of the Jewish people. “Two things have happened. Often Jews, and Israelis, have not effectively made their case in the court of world opinion. This is surprising. In the past, Jews lost many things – but  one thing they did not lose: an argument. Yet in the 21st century, on many key issues, they have lost the argument”

It is easy to fall into a victim mentality. Rabbi Sacks shares that he “was forced to conclude that Jews had, perhaps unconsciously, internalised the conviction ‘we have no friends but ourselves. The world failed us in the past and it will fail us again when we need it most’ ” 

He warned about the danger of this self-perpetuating mentality.   “Jews have turned inwards; they need to turn outwards” (p252 Future Tense). He emphasises that  “We do have friends, and if we tried a little harder, we would have more”. 

When Chaim Weizmann and David Ben Gurion encountered diplomatic disappointment after disappointment, they never gave up. They kept on going, persisting and persisting to seek ties in different places. 

In his book, “My People” Abba Eban wrote that  “I have come up against the impossibility of understanding, and therefore of explaining, the current Jewish reality without a constant probing of our ancient roots. There is no other modern nation whose motives of existence and action require such frequent reference to distant days.” 

The critical challenge, and opportunity, we have today is to strengthen our communication skills on a personal and national level, in tandem with the education in our communities about the ancient as well as more recent history of Israel, from the rise of Zionism in the 1800s. 

 Absorbing and teaching this core knowledge will help us build resilience, see ourselves as capable of influencing others, and become stronger advocates for our national home. This will help us become better leaders of ourselves, our families and our communities during these turbulent times.

It is important for us to know who we are in order to face the current realities with courage and resilience. 

As Rabbi Sacks highlights in Lessons from LeadershipNo one is stronger than the person who knows who and what he is

About the Author
Sharon is a former Neuroscientist turned Leadership Coach at Thrivably (www.thrivably.co.uk) helping professionals problem solve and become more successful communicators. Based in London, UK, she is an Accredited Performance Coach, Psychodynamic Counseling trained and a CIPD Associate. Sharon currently leads team workshops to energise groups, raise unity, and learn how to strategically problem solve to achieve greater levels of success.
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