Our 2024 Seminar- Future Leadership of Jerusalem – was a success as we brought more than 70 of our friends from around the world through the neighborhoods of Jerusalem, meeting the wide variety of leaders who bring Jerusalem together and make it a better place during this uncertain and difficult time.


The Jerusalem Foundation Seminar opened on May 20th at the Jerusalem Music Center in Mishkenot Shana’anim, a guesthouse for artists and academics which since October 7th has hosted special retreats and art therapy events for evacuees. Serenaded by guitar, cello and voice, the evening was led by Dr. Mishy Harman, the host of Israel Story, an award-winning podcast that tells the extraordinary stories of ordinary Israelis. Spellbound, the audience was captivated by the musical storytelling of curated, nonfiction. Israel Story has found a home at the Jerusalem Foundation offices, with an advanced recording studio built for them.



To hear a version of what we experienced that night, listen here: https://www.israelstory.org/episode/mixtape-part-ii-iron-and-gold/


On day two of the conference, in a packed room at the newly renovated Secular Yeshiva, the opening session featured a greeting from Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion. Keynote speaker Major General (ret.) Amos Yadlin pulled no punches as he shared his insights on the strategic dilemmas facing the Israeli government in the context of the ongoing war.



Following a short break, we heard from the Jerusalem Emergency Fund Impact Panel, five leaders who acted immediately after Oct. 7th to support and respond to emergency needs. The panel included: Dr. Sinai Oren, Resilience Center for Post-Trauma Treatment; Rabbi Keren Apfelbaum, Principal of Evacuee Elementary School; Dassi Gordon, General Director of Neveh Ya’akov Community Center; Ariel Levinson, PhD, Co-Founder of the Secular Yeshiva; and Neta Meisels, Director of HaMiffal Arts Center.



From there, we went deeper into the Ein Kerem neighborhood, taking in the relaxing and therapeutic environment. Here we found Beit HaShanti, the newly renovated safe home for at-risk and homeless youth. Seminar attendees indulged in a vibrant and nutritious meal overlooking the valley and learned about the Shanti loving kindness approach to give their youth confidence to become independent citizens and contributors to Israeli society.



Next, it was across the city to the Wadi Al-Joz neighborhood to visit the Hassenfeld Family Youth Center and heard from leaders of civil society as they discussed the challenges facing shared living in Jerusalem, especially after October 7th.



After a packed day, we walked to our reception at The Gottesman Family Israel Aquarium, we saw displays of fish and sea creatures from all four bodies of water connected to Israel (the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea).  Once seated, we took in an enchanting oceanic backdrop including the occasional appearance of two elegant and powerful sharks, as our host Alice Gottesman spoke about her father’s dream to build an aquarium for all to enjoy in the Holy City. Our guest speaker, Israeli journalist and Middle East Commentator Avi Issacharoff, discussed the significant impact and global influence of his hit TV-series, Fauda.



Early risers on day two visited the Gazelle Valley Urban Wildlife Park and were able to spot the gazelles roaming free within the park contained between neighborhoods in Jerusalem and to hear more about young leaders in arts and culture in Jerusalem.



In the afternoon we visited Talpiot Mizrach and the new climbing wall at the community center there, enjoying the chance to experience the challenge presented by the wall, while having an excellent lunch.



We concluded the formal sessions of the seminar meeting with members of our future leadership programs and in a dialogue among the participants about what is next for the Jerusalem Foundation.



In the evening, we had a festive dinner at a local grill restaurant and then ventured to the cutting edge of contemporary art and young artists on display at HaMiffal Art Center just off King David Street in the center of Jerusalem.



For the last day of the seminar, the Jerusalem Foundation traveled to the Gaza Envelope to stand in solidarity with the people of the south and hear from the residents about their experiences of October 7th and the war since.



We are so glad we had the chance to show so many of our friends from around the world just a small portion of the amazing work that we do for all the residents of Jerusalem. We want to thank all the many people who made it possible to have this wonderful event.


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