(Jerusalem, Israel) -- Next week, 400 Jewish young adults from countries throughout the world will participate in Building Future Leadership (BFL), Masa Israel’s annual weeklong leadership conference in Israel. Following an intensive application process in which they exhibited their passion for Israel and their Jewish communities, these individuals will gain the tools they need to become positive and inspiring change agents back home.
In response to young adults’ demands for continued engagement following their Israel experiences, Masa Israel, a joint project of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, has created BFL to motivate and prepare exceptional participants to become the leaders in their campus Hillels and in their local Masa alumni communities. JFNA's Mandel Center and Hillel are both playing central roles in the conference, focusing on training Masa Israel participants for involvement once they return to the USA and Canada.
“Being in BFL gave me time to reflect on my Israel experiences and then create a proactive plan to ignite others’ passion for Israel,” said Elana Weil, who studied abroad at the University of Haifa
through Masa Israel Journey. “Back on campus, I jumped into Israel advocacy, organizing workshops, bringing relevant speakers, and advising my peers about finding the best ways for them to spend time in Israel.” Following college, Weil became the Masa Israel Federation Fellow at the Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston. She is also a young professional liaison for AIPAC in the Boston area.
Over the course of the week, participants explore the topics of entrepreneurship, social activism, mentoring and coaching, and communication. BFL has one track for gap year participants and one for post-college participants, with special seminars geared toward participants from the different international regions, including North America, Latin America, the Former Soviet Union, and France, in order to focus on their specific concerns. President Shimon Peres will address the participants at the opening gala.
"We're seeing an increasing number of Birthright alumni coming back to Israel on Masa Israel programs," said Avi Rubel, Masa Israel's North American Director. "Especially for these participants, Masa Israel's BFL is a critical training ground for future activism and leadership."
Through Masa Israel’s partnership with Hillel, gap year participants will be pipelined into leadership positions at their new campus Hillels. Post-college participants will be pipelined into Federation and Jewish communal jobs and Masa Israel’s burgeoning alumni division’s programs, including the Masa Israel Federation Fellows, Masa Israel/PresenTense entrepreneurship courses, and social, educational, and cultural alumni committees.
The Building Future Leadership program will take place in Jerusalem from March 18 – 22, 2011. To speak with Building Future Leadership participants from your community, contact Masa Israel’s Director of Public Relations, Rachel Trager Sales at firstname.lastname@example.org