Community Bridges

The program aims to form a dialogue between Israeli youth in their post high-school, pre-army year from both religious and non-religious sectors of society. The one year program includes joint study sessions one day a week combined with community volunteer work for the remainder of the week in educational and community programs such as teaching Jewish heritage and rituals in elementary schools. Subjects studied are based on leadership, Jewish identity, Jewish pluralism and teamwork as a base for development in the group views on issues of Israeli society, religious diversity and tolerance. The program emphasizes the value of learning and teaching pluralistic Judaism as a way of developing mutual cooperation. It influences change in the wider community by educating the youth prior to army service so as to create a cadre of young Jewish activists of social tolerance and diversity.

In the 2004-2005 school year 25 youngsters participate in the Study sessions, 12 of them volunteer in Beit Shemesh. Those 12 volunteers work with 200 children on a weekly basis.