Shalom Hartman Institute of North America partnered once again with the Samuel Bronfman Foundation
to produce the 2012 “Why Be Jewish” Gathering which took place from May 21-22. This year’s two-day study event celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel
(BYFI). Participants included BYFI alumni, faculty, parents, and staff.
SHI-NA scholars led provocative text-based sessions and facilitated conversations on the theme of The State of Pluralism – a core value of the two organizations and Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel. Hartman Institute speakers and topics included:
Edgar Bronfman, President of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, explained the importance of pluralism to him in an op-ed article
for the JTA: “Every Jew, regardless of belief and practice, should be able to see themselves in the narrative, values and rituals – in all their permutations – that bind us together as the Jewish people…The challenge for those of us who care about seeing Judaism thrive now and in the future is not to tell people what they should think, but rather to encourage them to learn enough that they can arrive at their own conclusions.”
The Bronfman Youth Fellowship in Israel takes a small group of promising, young future Jewish leaders representing a spectrum of beliefs and traditions and immerses them in intensive study in North America and Israel. Mr. Bronfman noted, “It is of great importance to me that the teenagers in the BYFI program represent people from across the spectrum of Jewish experience so that they learn not only by engaging in Jewish study, but also through dialogue with each other. My hope is that the future of pluralism can be seen through the transformative conversations that occur between participants.”