Building Future Leadership participant Ella Spivack reflects on her experience at the seminar series, a Masa Israel Community program devoted to the building and enabling of future Jewish leadership. During the course of the seminar, each participant developed their own personal project to which they applied the skills, support and exposure gained through their experience at the BFL seminar.
A few weeks ago I was talking with Jonathan Rulnick, the Educational Director at WUJS Arad, about the BFL seminar. After I explained my project, he asked me a question. "What did they do at this seminar to get you to actually develop a project?"
I immediately understood his question. I've been to numerous seminars and workshops in the U.S. with a similar aim - to empower bright, motivated young people and encourage us to be active leaders in our communities. We've all been exposed to these things before, heard motivational speakers, done community service and participated in team building activities. Many of us have even had the opportunity and potential resources to develop a unique project. I personally attended a program this summer where we were offered money to create awareness and support for Israel in our communities. I know some of you have also had opportunities like this presented to you and maybe you were like me and didn't take advantage of the opportunity in the past.
So why now? What is so unique about BFL that is has motivated us, not only to brainstorm exciting, new visions but also to act, to persevere through a detailed and intense twenty-eight page business plan, certainly not an easy task, in order to make concrete and tangible progress towards making our visions become a reality.
Was it the trips we went on - to Har Herzel, the Begin Center, Ben Gurion University, and the Ayalim Student Village? Or maybe it was the many inspiring words we heard from leaders such as Lt. Gen. Moshe (Boogi) Ya'alon, Merav Ben Ari and Chemi Rodner? Perhaps it was the personalized and constant support we received during workshops and in between sessions from our amazing Madrichim - Yaniv, Yael, Nir, Shir and Gil. Or was it the relationships we developed with each other- with our incredible soldiers and with friends from around the world.
Actually, it was a combination of all of these things that came together in a unique way, making BFL what it is. This wasn't just another leadership seminar trying to inspire young people; it is the beginning of something truly great. We came here in October as fifty individuals, each for their own reason, from their own country and with their own ideas. Now two months later, we are leaving with the knowledge and the tools to make our dreams a reality. And I personally feel so confident knowing that I have the support of fifty amazingly talented and intelligent people from around the world.
I'd like to leave you with a line from one of my favorite Israeli songs, Makom BaLev:
"In order to fulfill one old dream, you need a million dreamers who won't shut their eyes and who won't block their ears."
To my BFL family, may you go forth from here with your eyes and ears always open to your communities. May you show the world:
That there remains a place in the heart - that there remains a place in our hearts, the hearts of young leaders committed to working for the future of Israel and the future of the Jewish people around the world.
Allison L. Spivack
Ella's personal project, Etzel, facilitates "face-to-face" encounters of new Olim to the Arab societies within Israel's boarders.