I’m pleased to share with you an article about an innovative program I have initiated: Leadership with an Eye to the Future Seminar- Zionist Seminar in Europe
It was published by an Orthodox journalist, which joined the seminar, in both Makor Rishon, an Orthodox newspaper, with a wide spread and in NRG-Ma’ariv.
Since it is a long article, I have translated the opening paragraphs.
For me, the fact that for the second time, I as a reform leader have received a prominent place in the orthodox press is maybe not to be necessarily accepted, but it is to be RESPECTED.
For those of you that would like to receive more information regarding this unique program, please contact me.
Gusti Yehoshua Braverman
Translation of the two first paragraphs The entire article is attached :
An American Orthodox Rabbi, a Reform woman and an Arab-Israeli are sitting at a Budapest pub, and are trying to convince the owner of the place, a Hungarian Jew, to make Aliyah again, after he already once made Aliyah but returned to his motherland. “I am afraid”, he told them. When I used to live in Israel, I did not feel safe. I think that the Jewish state will not survive for many more years”. The Rabbi, who intends to make Aliyah to Israel in several years’ time, does not give in to him. The representative of the Arab public also preaches Zionism: “Israel is the only place for the Jews”, he says.
This quasi-weird episode reflects pretty well the journey in the footsteps of the founders of Zionism in Europe, in which we participated. The journey, organized by the World Zionist Organization, offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to gain direct knowledge about the events, the places and the Zionist stories that brought to the establishment of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel. The vision of those who initiated this journey is to turn it into a custom for Israelis – adults and youth – who will see for themselves the roots of the Zionist ethos.
In Russia there is no Zionism
I am in the midst of a group of twenty Israelis who came in on flight 057 from Kiev to Odessa. This is a heterogeneous delegation that was sent here as part of an original Zionist experience named ‘Leadership for a Future seminar’. “My goal is to challenge all that you thought is ‘Zionist’ until now”, declares the organizer of the seminar, Gusti Yehoshua Braverman, “and I also want you to reflect”.
And why start specifically in Odessa? Well, as we know, the beginnings of Zionism included important figures other than Herzl. Legends such as Jabotinsky, Achad Haam, Shaul Tchernichovsky, and Haim Nachman Bialik lived in Odessa, and spread their ideas from there. Without those, it would have been harder for Herzl to promote his agenda, which at the time was completely not self-evident.
Gusti, the head of the department for Diaspora Activities in the World Zionist Organization and the representative of the Reform Movement in the National Institutions, opens the journey with words of gratitude. The world of the Torah is not unfamiliar to her; she defines herself as “religious Zionist”, even though her lifestyle is different from other religious-Zionists. “We are in the days between the Holocaust Remembrance day and Independence Day, between the Torah portion Kedoshim and Emor”, she says, and shows the parallel between those days and the ten days of Repentance. According to her, it was not incidental that she chose this period in order to hold the journey in the footsteps of Zionism.