Calling all young Jewish leaders

Over the last year, I have been working for strengthening ties between Israeli youth and Jewish youth from Diaspora, in order to overcome the negative trends that affect the Jewish people, such as the distancing of the young generation in the sense of belonging to the Jewish people, as well as the sense of responsibility and taking initiatives for their future.

After reading professional literature, including the 2011-2012 annual assessment of the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), I have reached the conclusion that there is a need to establish a forum of young Jewish leadership for the Jewish people.

There is exceptional importance to establishing such a group of young Jewish leaders, in their teens, twenties and thirties. First, cooperation between Jewish youth from around the world will increase the chances of the establishment of a world Jewish parliament, which will symbolize the relations between all parts of the Jewish world, and will work for the future of the Jewish people.

Second, young Jewish leadership will ensure the sense of belonging of young Jews to their people, as the group bridges the gap between the youth and the Jewish world.

In fact, the existence of such a group will boost the sense of commitment of young Jews to their future.

In addition, a mobilization of young Jews from around the world can lead to innovation and renewal in the Jewish world. Likewise, young Jewish leadership can bring inspiration, pride and hope for the older generation, which has worked for the Jewish people’s future. The group can also be a motivation factor that affects the willingness of the old generation to keep working for their children’s future.

There are many projects for enthusiastic young Jews, but they are not large enough to have a real impact.

The trends and changes taking place in the Jewish also world require deep observation of a young person’s perspective, which is quite different from an old person’s perspective; for example, as regards the emotional connection of Jewish youth to the Jewish people. A young Jewish leadership will be very helpful in solving worrying trends such as this.

To establish such a forum, it is necessary to enlist the support of various organizations. The forum for young Jewish leadership will work in cooperation with all the other organizations, as the representative body of the Jewish youth and with the goal of gaining exposure among as many people as possible, to increase its impact.

The young Jewish leadership forum will operate as a part of the Jewish people’s leadership for deepening cooperation between the Diaspora and the State of Israel, as well as deepening unique shared values of the Jewish people; it will develop tikkun olam projects; it will encourage creativity and innovation in the Jewish world; it will advance the establishment of a Jewish parliament; and it will work for developing policies for the Jewish people along with other future plans.

Even if the forum does not guarantee the future of the Jewish people, it will encourage excellence and creativity. Later, a forum like this can be an excellent model for countries and bodies that will develop young leadership programs. In addition, while participating in this forum, it will be much easier for the participants to join other international young leadership councils and sound out, loud and clear, their Jewish voice.

To this end, I urge every young person to take responsibility for his future, and to believe in a better tomorrow, and take us all to this day. It is possible.

About the Author
Jonathan 'Yoni' Biron is an 18-year-old Israeli, a US Department of State International Exchange alumnus and active in peace and public diplomacy programs.