From Our Chief Executive: October 2019

I was recently reminded that the word Shanah (שנה , “year”) comes from the same word as Shinui (שינוי , “change”). As we enter the New Year should we fear or embrace change?

As we enter the New Year the only sensible prediction I can make is that we are entering into a year that will bring change! In Israel and here in the UK we are entering a period of deep uncertainty and not just politically.

One of the big questions facing the Jewish community in the UK is the trends in its engagement with Israel. The headline question being asked is whether the younger generations are “moving away from Israel” but more broadly there is a question of whether for the community as a whole the centrality of Israel is lessening. If we take any lesson from “across the pond” where there is undoubtedly a crisis in the relationship between the two largest Jewish communities (of USA and Israel) we should be concerned. The change this speaks to is a re-envisioning of diaspora-Israel relations based on shared values and vision.

As I write, the complexion of the next Israeli government remains unclear and PM Netanyahu’s indictment hearings have begun, bringing further uncertainty. NIF in Israel is both responding to the current climate – as the story below explains – and continuing our longer-term change work investing in new leadership development, Jewish-Arab partnership and speaking up for the gatekeepers of Israeli democracy.

In the newsletter, we profile Esther Sivan, one of the three leaders we have shared in our Rosh Hashana campaign. These leaders are helping us reframe the future. I would encourage you to read Esther, Shmuel and Mushira’s stories and be inspired to embrace change this New Year.

Shana Tova, Adam.