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December 31, 2009 - Image 30

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-12-31

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December 31 • 2009

!_j Jewish
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of Metropolitan Detroit



ideas are discussed.
Nowhere is this more challeng-
ing, or more necessary, than when it
comes to Israel. Israel inspires passion
among Jews across the ideological
spectrum. Today's Jewish students are
learning to express their differences
about Israel openly and with respect,
and to come together in her defense
whenever necessary.
This is a generation that has had
the opportunity to experience the soft
side of Israel through Taglit-Birthright
Israel, and to advocate for her loudly
in the face of anti-Israel groups and
the threat from Iran. At such far-
flung places as Binghamton (N.Y.)
University, Rio de Janeiro, Columbia
University and York University in
Toronto, Jewish students have stood
up loudly and proudly, learning the
time-honored Jewish skills of political
advocacy and defense.
They also are learning that Jewish
institutions do not subsist on ideas
alone. The hundreds of Jewish students
who recently attended the General
Assembly of the Jewish Federations
of North America learned fundrais-
ing and organizational skills that will
serve them well, whether they become
Jewish communal professionals or lay
leaders. We look forward to expanding
the number of participants exponen-
tially in the coming years.
On campus, Jewish students are
taking responsibility for running their
Hillel boards, their fraternities and
sororities, and other student groups.
It is no accident that many of the
young people who are leading the rev-
olution of Jewish social entrepreneur-
ship got their start as Hillel activists.
These young people will strengthen
our community in years to come with
their commitment to excellence, plu-
ralism and engagement.
We don't know what the future will
bring but as the heirs of a 2,000-year-
old tradition, we have a rich resource
with which to prepare our young
people for whatever challenges lie
ahead, particularly in today's global-
ized world. After all, we have always
been a global people, possessing
unique skills that have enabled us to
transcend borders and cultures.
By immersing our next genera-
tion in the beauty of their heritage,
they will not only be enriched, they
will enrich the Jewish people and the
world. II

Edgar M. Bronfman is founding chair-

man of the Hillel International Board of

Governors. Randall Kaplan serves as the
board's current chair.

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