Via video conferencing, Natan Sharansky, prominent Israeli politician, human rights activist and author, and Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, addressed a group of educators on confronting Jewish Education in the Diaspora.
Sharansky was extremely positive about the need for enhancing Jewish and Zionist education in diaspora communities. He spoke about the various Jewish Agency programs available to young Jews in the diaspora, and how the Jewish Agency will be investing in the younger generation so as to build and strengthen their Jewish identity and connection to the State of Israel. He stressed the importance of doing this from an early age, and that should be taught at school and in the home.
The initiative was greatly welcomed by Avrom Krengel, Chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, who lauded the commitment coming from Israel as an indication of how important it is to increase knowledge in the diaspora of our Jewish heritage and of Israel.
Rabbi Kacev, Director of SABJE, alongside Sharansky in Israel, voiced his excitement at being part of many of the future initiatives of the Jewish Agency. “The meeting of heads of school, senior educators and community representatives with the Israel Centre served to confirm the tremendous work that the centre does throughout the year for Israel education in the schools and broad community and at the same time reinforce the very good relationship that exists. This is a resource of great benefit to the community and it was a treat to be sitting with Natan Sharansky in Israel as he addressed those present and see first-hand the passion he has for diaspora Jewry and the respect which he has for the South African Jewish community.”
Rabbi Hazdan, Dean of Torah Academy, present in the audience said, "We are heartened and reassured by the growing investment and partnership between the Jewish Agency and the diaspora to focus on the vital core issue of Jewish Identity in Jewish education. The Torah Academy is grateful for the projects from which we have benefited through the efforts of the Israel Centre the Jewish Agency and the Zionist Federation."
Overall, the evening proved to be extremely interesting and opened the door educational initiatives between Israel and South Africa.