A couple of months ago, a few Shalem participants and I were chosen to take part in the Building Future Leaders Seminar (BFL), a seminar designed to provide today’s youth with the tools and skills in becoming a leader in their community. This seminar taught me a lot about my potential, the importance of a community, and has helped me develop skills to help guide others. Through this experience we had the opportunity to network with people from all over the world and to discuss different relevant topics with students who will be attending schools that are similar to ours. This learning process was further broadened through specialized seminar tracks where everyone had the chance to build leadership skills through accessing our individual areas of strength.
In BFL, I was part of the “Educating for Change” track. This group was mostly made up of students who wanted to become leaders on college campus either through teaching or advocacy. We learned a lot about different methods of teaching, educating, planning and communicating with others. During the seminar, we had the opportunity to visit Mount Herzl. This visit was different than the usual tourist site-seeing experience. It was a visit built by ideas. We spent our visit focusing on the concept of building a vision, and that with one idea and one vision one can properly educate an audience.
During our visit to Mount Herzl, I could not help but make a parallel to our very own Jewish history; to the revelation at Mount Sinai. On this mountain I see a modern version of that revelation. Herzl had a vision of a place where all Jews would be free to be Jews. This vision was sparked by a singular idea; Zionism.
As one descends the mountain, we observe the transformation of this vision culminating with the establishment of the State of Israel. As the torch gets passed down, this transformation becomes relevant to us. The idea of Zionism survived through the Holocaust, and continues to thrive as we endure wars and terrorism. Perhaps, we realize that Herzl’s vision and dream did not end with the establishment of the State of Israel. It is our responsibility to continue to promote Zionism, to defend our country and to secure in it an even greater future.
At Mt. Sinai, 3,000 years ago, a vision of ethics was introduced to our ancestors. This vision has endured throughout history and continues to find relevance as we recently celebrated 64 years of renewed national independence.
As Jewish youth and future leaders, we have the chance in the Diaspora to make a difference and continue this mission. Just like the leaders of our past. We must make Israel the center of our identity.