NOAM Olami Leadership Seminar April 2013

On Friday, April 19 and Saturday April 20, 2013, Masorti Olami and MAROM Olami organized a leadership seminar for 40 participants in Masorti/Conservative year programs in Israel. We gathered together from the United States, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Israel and the United Kingdom at Karei Deshe Youth Hostel on Lake Kinneret for a memorable Shabbat.

“The sense that we are one gives us more power and strength.” – Federico, Argentina

The main focus of the seminar was to learn about the differences and similarities between the various Masorti/Conservative communities, their cultural, religious and Zionist values and through this to better understand the richness and diversity of the Masorti/Conservative world movement.

This experience gave the participants a first time look into the difference in Masorti practices and minhagim in different countries and allowed for true pluralism and tolerance within the group.

“All of these differences between us and the fact that we are all in the same Masorti movement is what makes the beauty of Masorti – for me!” Julieta, Buenos Aires.

The atmosphere of the seminar was very positive, and open which allowed for effective networking and growth. Through each session, the participants were able to learn more about the achievements and challenges related to Jewish and Israel programming in each of their respective communities. The immediate personal connections that were made allowed for deep engagement between everyone and assured communication via social media, teleconferencing and email in the future. As the seminar progressed, participants continued their discussions even during their free time. Mealtime became another setting for asking more questions and delving deeper into issues raised in a particular session.

“I think it is very important for us to learn about the other communities so we can improve our programs and education.” – Federico, Israel

The discussion that became the focal point of the seminar was the debate of what was the highest form of Hagshama (self-realization of the Jewish Zionist ideal). Participant’s grappled with the issues of what should be the main purpose of their Zionist programming and should promoting Aliyah be the aim of all of their programs. Shabbat services were filled with singing and dancing. Participants shared their melodies and traditions and were able to offer insight on how they can bring these practices into their communities.

“A huge part of Judaism is community and NOAM Olami creates that all over the world” – Jake, U.S.A.

In our summary session, most of the discussion focused on how the group can meet more often in Israel and how we can move forward from this seminar. Many felt that this was a great starting point for building relationships and strengthening our worldwide network. It also emphasized the need for many more opportunities such as this to further deepen the connections and to strategize on how to best strengthen the NOAM Olami network.

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