Jewish Informal Education and Leadership Course

Jewish Informal Education and Leadership Course
The project recruited and trained 18 active and motivated young adult leaders from communities throughout Latin America. The project aims to strengthen Jewish and Zionist knowledge and identity; and develop knowledgeable young Jewish leaders for Latin America. The project is a complete educational program which provides participants with a meaningful corpus of knowledge and skills. The following components comprise the two-year course:
The project included five continental 3-day seminars.
· The first seminar explored My Jewish and Zionist Identity. It included presentations and workshops dealing with Jewish streams, the development of Jewish Law, the history of Zionism, and participants’ relationship with Israel.
· The second seminar is entitled Judaism and Zionism, Essential Elements of My Life. It introduced participants to the Jewish bookshelf, the Jewish calendar, Zionist values, major Zionist leaders, and materials for self-education and future teaching.
· The third seminar, What Makes a Jewish Leader?, presents major leaders in Jewish history, contemporary leaders, and leadership qualities. The seminar included workshops on public speaking. 
· The fourth seminar, Creating and Building Projects, focused on skills related to developing goals, writing proposals, budget planning, public relations and fundraising. Participants developed a toolkit for informal education in communities,
· The fifth seminar was entitled Showcase Skills, Finalizing Projects, and Evaluating the Program.The newly trained leaders planned and implemented all of the Shabbat activities (at the seminar) and presented plans for their individual projects.
The project also included 20 monthly online class sessions, during the course of 2 years, taught by a variety of academic experts and educators. The sessions included textual study and development of Jewish literacy skills, with the goal of enabling participants to learn independently, and develop their leadership skills. The sessions also deal with Israel. Students were able to observe each other and to participate interactively.

Each participant committed to developing a project which s/he will implement in his home community after completing the training program. A volunteer mentor works with each participant.

Projects developed by participants include the following:
(1)    Connecting young adults to Jewish libraries through activities which take place in the libraries
(2)    Nationwide exhibitions of works by Jewish artists
(3)    Informal education programs in Jewish schools
(4)    Training students to defend Israel
(5)    Facilitating expression of Jewish and Zionist identity through the arts
(6)    Developing a form for young adults, which facilitates a culture of charitable giving

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After supporting Marom’s successful initiative that prepared 18 Latin American young adult leaders to become community leaders, coordinators for volunteer programs, educators and youth activity directors, the Pincus Fund has extended its support for an additional year.  The project recently launched an additional training program for a new cohort of 17 young adult leaders (8 from Brazil; 8 from Argentina and one each from Chile and Paraguay).

The project offers four annual 4-day continental seminars and a 10-day seminar in Israel.  Another significant aspect of the program includes monthly video conferences that are based on a 10 to 15 minute teaching clip that is comprised of a short lecture, which participants receive and view prior to the conference call.  Video clips are prepared by the Masorati Yeshiva in Jerusalem and the Seminario Rabbinico in Argentina using their educators, and these educators also participate in the video calls to guide the teaching and discussion on the subject matter.

Over the course of the project, with assistance and guidance from mentors, via Skype sessions participants are expected to develop a project that they will implement in the home/ local communities.  Mentors for the project include the Dean of the Seminario Rabbinico, leading Jewish educators and others.

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