Israel, Justice

Serving on the periphery: new year-long service program in Israel

In Israeli parlance, ha-peripheria (the periphery) is akin to our American slang “the ghetto” and generally refers the areas outside the coastline-Jerusalem axes. Bespeckled with Negev “development towns,” Bedouin hovels and Arab towns of the north, these are Israel’s backwaters where the most disempowered and poorest Israeli citizens reside.
Now American Jews are extended a rare and unique opportunity — for the first time — to serve the Israel that is least like the glossy, prestine view from America. Since 2004, Israeli nonprofit Mercaz Maase has recruited young Israelis from the periphery to conduct AmeriCorps-like year-long public service, often as an alternative to military service. Through the New Israel Fund’s new partnership, Ma’ase Olam, approximately two dozen American Jews aged 21-28 will live communally and serve for 10 months alongside their Israeli peers in making Israel a more equal, just home. Unlike NIF’s preexisting five year-long fellowships working with social and human rights grantees, Ma’ase Olam offers a much larger cohort and does not require fully conversant Hebrew. (Amazing!)
Full deets here:
NIF/SHATIL Social Justice Fellowship
Applications are now available for the NIF/SHATIL Social Justice Fellowship 2011-2012 cohort. The fellowship sends 5 Americans and 1 individual from the UK to intern at an individually-selected Israeli NGO, active in areas including civil and human rights, and social, economic and environmental justice. Fellows receive training in leadership and community development and living expenses are covered by a modest stipend. Excellent Hebrew skills required. The Fellowship year runs from September 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012. Applications due January 22, 2011.
New Israel Fund announces new service program in Israel: Ma’ase Olam
Do you want to be part of the efforts to advance democracy, equality and justice in Israel? NIF–Ma’ase Olam (“Action in the World”), launching in September 2011, is a 10-month service program in communities in the social periphery of Israel. The application is open to Jewish young adults age 21-28 from North America. Hebrew is a plus but not required. The program includes 4-5 monthly seminars in the US prior to departure. The application process will begin in November 2010.

9 thoughts on “Serving on the periphery: new year-long service program in Israel

  1. So let me get this straight (no offense to some here).
    You have to pay $1000 to become a volunteer (and food and transportation are still extra).
    Hey folks, have I got a deal for you!
    You can go to any local charity (Jewish or otherwise) and offer your services as a volunteer for free! That’s right. You don’t have to pay them anything.
    I just saved you $1000.
    No don’t thank me. Its my pleasure.

    1. Dave Boxthorn writes:
      You have to pay $1000 to become a volunteer (and food and transportation are still extra).
      It includes housing. $100/month for rent is a very good deal, even for Israel.

  2. I have no issues with the programming. Go for it, ya’all.
    One thing irks me – “leadership training”. Can we agree that “leadership training” is the most obnoxious phrase in the Jewish organizational vocabulary? It means, literally, nothing. No one is actually trained to be a leader, ever, EVER! No one who has ever gone through “leadership training” has ever used that training to become a leader. Either they were a leader to begin with, or they were not and likely never will be. In fact, usually it’s the opposite, the participants are trained to work as a team and follow someone else’s directions! It’s not “leadership training”, it’s “follow the leader training”. But no one wants to admit that they are setting up a program teaching participants how to be an obedient sheep in 30 minutes. Why? What’s wrong with being a sheep. Let’s just admit it, we need more sheep! They make wool, and milk, and great smoked meat – very useful animals, and every organization could use more. The most obnoxious thing you can do to someone who isn’t a natural leader is make them think they have leadership qualities or “training”.

  3. What’s more, the people who are giving over this “leadership training” aren’t leaders either! They’re just sheep who went through “follow the leader” training and performed well enough to be entrusted with tasks whose formulation they had little to no input in.
    I KNOW that heads of organizations read Jewschool. Please, for the love and fear of G-d, studiously remove “leadership training” from your vocabulary! I know it looks good on a resume or grant application, and it fills up empty space on forms and gives respectable bulk to emails, but it is time for our generation to say NO MORE! No more “leadership training”, “leadership seminars”, “leadership retreats”, “leadership luncheons”… ENOUGH! WE HAVE ENOUGH LEADERS! WE NEED SHEEP! BAAAAA!! BAAAAAAAA!! SHEEEEEEEEEP!

  4. I don’t think you understand what leadership training is, Victor. Leadership training does not create “leaders” because that’s not its purpose. You’re speaking of leaders who have a natural charisma. A JFK, a Gandhi, a Ben Gurion. Leadership training is simply practical training on building community and developing others. Business school, for example, is leadership training. It helps guide people with practical skills on how to develop team building and communicate ideas through corporate channels. Leadership training is actually a very useful tool for anyone who wants to sit on a board of trustees or directors, or who wants to be an executive of any variety. You’re right, leadership training will not create “natural born leaders.” It’s not supposed to.

  5. the problem is that Victor is bemoaning that natural leaders are natural leaders, but that’s not the type of leader that leadership training is engaged in. it’s training people to lead in a much more specific context. like lead an organization or lead a board, so leadership training is still a valid name, we just have to be more open in our definition of leader.

  6. Why do they call it that? Leadership training is training for leaders(to make them better leaders), not training to create leaders. I’m not sure we need more sheep. I want to see more small scale communities, where everyone can be leaders. I guess I’m calling for a cadre of anarcho-sheep.

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