Masorti Youth Leaders From Five Continents In France For Int'l Convention
Thirty-four youth leaders from twelve countries on five continents convened on the sunny French Riviera from January 18-21 to meet one another and learn how to strengthen Masorti youth groups around the world. Peer led sessions covered topics on how to incorporate Hebrew language instruction, Israel Education in a Masorti context and how to plan successful camps and engaging programming in the face of the challenges confronted by small Jewish youth groups.
The Seminar was hosted by theMaayane-Or communityin Nice, France which boasts the newest chapter in the NOAM network. This conference is held in a different location annually, with last year's being held in Dallas, TX in conjunction with USY's (a NOAM Olami affiliated youth group) International Convention.
The annual NOAM Olami International Seminar was formed to create a sense of a network amongst the movement's worldwide leadership and encourage branches to share content and create themes for the coming year. The leaders, ages 16-40 from Argentina, Uganda, Germany, Brazil, Israel, Ukraine, Chile, USA, Germany, UK, France and Spain formed personal bonds, discussed their challenges, and shared their strategies for cultivating meaningful discussions on Jewish and Israel themes.
For more information or pictures on the International Seminar, click here. To register for NOAM Olami's all-expenses paid "Onward NOAM Olami" summer in Israel program, click hereto write to Reut Yahav, Director of NOAM Olami.
Letter From Reut Yahav, Director Of NOAM Olami
I returned to Israel from the NOAM Olami International Seminar in Nice, France full of new energy and motivation.
It is great to see how NOAM Olami is developing and growing - we had thirty four participants at this year's NOAM Olami Seminar, up from the fourteen participants who took part last year.
We spent four days together with Masorti Youth leaders from all over the world. The seminar started with presentations from the different groups where we learned about one another and we continued with intense sessions where we learned together and enriched each other with different techniques, methods and topics for educating our youth about Israel, Judaism and the Hebrew language. We also spent a lovely Shabbat together at the Maayane Or community, praying, eating and singing endless Zmirot together. It is amazing that this group who had just met for the first time, very naturally created a warm family atmosphere for Shabbat. There was a magical energy in the air and we all felt connected by singing Zmirot from all over the world.
On the one hand it was very eye opening to see how different the groups from around the world are, but on the other hand, beyond those differences we found a big common base and realized that in our own ways we share the same challenges and we can support each other in dealing with them.
Both the sessions and the free time were full of discussions between the participants who were curious to learn about each other's groups and see how they can create cooperation in order to strengthen and learn from one another. Leaders of the bigger, more established NOAM groups were particularly concerned with thinking about how they can support the newer smaller ones.
It was inspiring to meet thirty four such special people who work so hard all year long and put their hearts into educating the next generation. It felt empowering to be together and feel a part of something bigger. Putting our knowledge, experience and efforts together we are so much stronger.
The seminar was successful, but it is clear to us all that it is just a beginning! The real work starts now making these worldwide projects happen and putting the collaborations into actions.
How Do We Teach About Israel In NOAM?
Three of the educational sessions in the NOAM Olami seminar centered on the topic of Israel Education. In the first session, USY's Israel shaliach, Guy Shahar, shared the method used at Camp Ramah's Sha'ar program for running successful activities entirely in Hebrew for non-Hebrew speaking participants. In the second session, NOAM Israel's director of hadracha, Yoni Avitan, led us in examining controversial headlines which appeared in Israeli newspapers over the past month and we discussed at great length how we see the State of Israel in 70 years in light of the ongoing conflict over religion and state. The third session, "70 ways to talk about Israel" was led by Reut Yahav and featured topics ranging from Israeli wine and desert agriculture to kosher technology, the Israel National Trail and LGBTQ in Israel to provide NOAM leaders with extensive points of discussion and ways to tie Israel into all NOAM activities.
What The Participants Say:
"I don't think I have ever learned so much in such a short time and I definitely never met so many amazing people. I will miss you all so much, even though I knew you just for four days... now we are a family! Definitely one of the most incredible weekends of my life!"
David, Berlin, Germany
'It was a one-of-a-kind educational experience that connects Jews from all over the world."
Guy, New York, USA
"Such an amazing experience, with the best people, high-leveled content, in a beautiful place! It was especially interesting to see how different and how similar we are at the same time!"