By Caroline Frank, Career Israel Participant 2014 and Jerusalem Post intern
I have just come home from a five-day special Masa Leadership Summit in Jerusalem. I was with 8 other Career Israel people and had the time of my life making friends with Israelis, Ukrainians, Russians, South Americans, Brits, Canadians, the lovely Rozi from Turkey and Chaya from Holland, 3 other Aussies and of course heaps of Americans.
Before I came on my Masa program I didn’t think I would change as a person but just over the past five days I felt my views of issues in the Diaspora (countries outside of Israel) and in Israel have started to sway. Like the Dialogue Seminar at the Dead Sea, I came on the summit with an open mind and was challenged in so many ways.
One of the workshops taught us that the lives and careers we have are not the be-all and end-all for us – that it is important to have passion, hone our unique strengths and have the right work environment that suits our lifestyles in order to be happy in the jobs we keep. I sat there and thought about how I feel being a journalist is my calling in this point in my life. That same day we herded sheep and goats in groups and my qualities as a leader were tested when I volunteered to be CEO of a metaphorical organisation and had to direct people’s actions through archery. It was very challenging but the hardest part was having to evaluate myself. It’s always tough for a leader to admit or acknowledge their mistakes and I highlighted my weaknesses over strengths.
Intellectually the leadership summit made me question a lot of things about the Jewish people but I felt empowered sharing my views about life as an Australian Jew and how I feel it is every Jew’s duty in the Diaspora to help combat anti-Semitism through teaching Jewish and Israel advocacy to younger generations but also through educating non-Jews. Many people agreed with me and I enjoyed hearing from the Ukrainian and Russian Jews about the core issues that face their communities – that Jewishness is bred into their youth as a big secret all due to prior generations having faced horrid persecution for their faith.
It’s through being on such a summit that opportunities for global dialogue can take place – another point firmly made in a morning lecture on peoplehood. The speaker highlighted the importance of thinking interconneted and when we think local and global about the Jewish people, we will be better Jewish leaders.
It was in that moment I realised that I actually care about my own community back home and that I could actually make a difference if / when I return to Perth.
The best moments came when small groups would gather and candidly share opinions on the hard-hitting points raised in the workshops. That was when I had the best conversations, especially with Rozi my new Turkish friend and Chen and Daniella, new Israeli friends.
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