From New York City to Jerusalem to Budapest, participants in the Jewish Social Leadership Training Program gathered in the office of Jerusalem's Memizrach Shemesh January 4-10 in the first of a series of meetings designed to engage participants from vastly different Jewish communities in Jewish values and traditional texts as sources for solutions to contemporary social issues. Though the exchange has run for several years now, this is the first time it has included Jewish communities from three different countries.
The exchange, funded by Partnership 2000 and the UJA-Federation of New York, is a three-semester joint program through the Bronfman Center at New York University, Memizrach Shemesh-The Center for Jewish Leadership in Israel and Marom Budapest.
Memizrach Shemesh, funded by the Avi Chai Foundation and Alliance-Kol Yisrael Haverim, is a center for Jewish social activism and leadership in Israel that uses the traditional Beit Midrash model to train, inform and educate its participants, with a special emphasis on the texts, writings and commentaries of Sephardic rabbis and sages. The organization runs groups for youth, students, parents, rabbis, social activists and community leaders with the aim of empowering these populations to strengthen their Jewish identity while taking action for social change within their own communities.