Choosing Tomorrow encourages promising college students—particularly those who grew up in Israel’s geographic and social peripheries in the Negev, Galilee, and Jerusalem—to commit to remaining in those vulnerable areas after graduation. In almost all cases, that commitment inspires them to stay indefinitely and continue taking responsibility for the areas in which they were raised.
The program includes both college students who live in the same community and devote their energies to investing in their home towns, and – inspired by the regional pride of their local friends – students from other regions who attend the same college and are motivated to settle in their college region.
In exchange for college scholarships, participants perform community service and join activities that focus on team-building, leadership development, and regional issues. As the program progresses, they take responsibility for a social project of their own design. For many participants, the program provides a powerful framework in which to make personal, social-activist investments in what had been their childhood homes and communities – many for the first time.
Many graduates of Choosing Tomorrow decide to join The Jewish Agency’s flagship Young Communities program, extending their new-found social activism and community-building efforts far into adulthood.
Choosing Tomorrow helps secure the Jewish future by:
- Generating leaders who assume responsibility for social change
- Leveraging the energy of student activists into lifelong involvement in socio-geographically outlying regions of Israel
- Encouraging long-term, sustainable change, and change from within communities
Studying at Ben-Gurion University, Ayelet Arnoni, now 28, saw the Negev’s challenges. Upon graduation, Ayelet stayed in Be’er Sheva. Choosing Tomorrow helped her find employment, and she lives near friends she made in the Choosing Tomorrow activities. “From the time I became involved in Choosing Tomorrow I felt I was an agent of change,” she says. “I love Be’er Sheva. We need more young people to stay, and that is exactly what Choosing Tomorrow is encouraging.”