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First-of-its-kind Israel experience offers young Jewish communal professionals a month in Tel Aviv

TEL AVIV — It sounds like a dream offer: an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel for the full month of January, based in Tel Aviv, the beachside city with warm winter temperatures that inarguably is Israel’s most exciting metropolis.

Even better, participants won’t have to use up vacation days from work for the trip. If all goes according to plan, their bosses will recommend them for the experience, and the month in Tel Aviv will count as professional development.

That’s because this is no beach vacation.

It’s a unique opportunity for early-career professionals working in Jewish organizations to get a career boost while having an immersive Israel experience.

The monthlong professional development program scheduled for January 2024, called the Sullam Israel Residency, offers young professionals in Jewish organizations a chance to enhance their skills while immersing themselves in some of the most vibrant elements of Israeli culture and forging connections with fellow participants and Israelis peers. This first-of-its-kind program, being introduced by Birthright Israel Onward, isn’t just about advancing careers; it’s meant to deepen Jewish identity, foster meaningful connections and cultivate professional growth.

“Jewish communal professionals play a key role in engaging North American Jews with Israel,” said Gidi Mark, Birthright Israel’s CEO. “We hope that giving them a transformative way to experience Israel and bolster their careers with a journey of learning, growth and discovery will deepen their connection to the country and strengthen their ability to serve as a bridge to Israel and its people for years to come.”

A group of philanthropic foundations is funding the pilot program, and the curriculum is being designed by M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education. The focus is on Jewish and Israel education, with the idea of giving participants a comprehensive understanding of Jewish communities’ history, values and contemporary challenges as well as valuable skills to become better professionals in their communities.

Participants will live independently in single rooms in shared apartments in Tel Aviv. Among the key subjects the educational component of the program will tackle: Israeli history, politics, innovation and social diversity; Jewish study, ritual and spirituality, and Jewish peoplehood. The program will also help participants develop dialogue and facilitation expertise to create safe spaces and embrace complexity, and facilitate networking opportunities with Israeli professionals.

The monthlong experience will also include Shabbat retreats and plenty of independent time. So it wouldn’t be a crazy idea to pack a beach towel and sunscreen.

The Sullam residency focuses specifically on Jewish communal professionals. Participants in the first cohort of this selective program must be nominated by their work supervisors or managers and gain acceptance in a competitive application process. Anyone working full-time in Jewish communal service who has been in the field for at least 18 months but no longer than five years may apply. Non-Jews are welcome, too.

The application deadline is Sept. 15.

The funding covers nearly all of participants’ expenses: accommodations, round-trip airfare from select North American cities, educational programming and seminars, meals during educational sessions, Shabbat retreats, basic medical insurance and ground transportation within Tel Aviv. Participants are expected to remain in the field of Jewish communal service after their Sullam experience.

This program is an outgrowth of Birthright Israel, which offers free 10-day Israel trips to Jews ages 18 to 26 designed to strengthen their connections to Israel, their Jewish identity and one another. Since its founding in 1999, Birthright has brought over 800,000 young Jews to Israel from 68 different countries.

Birthright runs numerous follow-up programs through Onward Israel and has facilitated the participation of an additional 20,000 people in various Israel- and Jewish-related internships, academic programs, and fellowships. In addition, more than 1,200 Jewish young adults have participated in Birthright Israel Excel, a 10-week business internship program in Israel.

To apply or recommend an employee for this experience, visit

The post First-of-its-kind Israel experience offers young Jewish communal professionals a month in Tel Aviv appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Hamas Fires Missiles at Tel Aviv for First Time in Months

An Israeli police officer stands next to the remains of a rocket after rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian Islamist terrorist group Hamas, in Herzliya, Israel May 26 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Nir Elias

Hamas launched missiles at Tel Aviv on Sunday, setting off sirens in Israel’s financial center for the first time in four months, as the Islamist Palestinian terror group sought to show military strength despite Israel’s Gaza offensive.

The Israeli military said eight projectiles were identified crossing from the area of Rafah, the southern tip of the Gaza Strip where Israel kept up operations despite a ruling by the top U.N. court on Friday ordering it to stop attacking the city.

A number of the projectiles were intercepted, it said. There were no reports of casualties.

In a statement on its Telegram channel, the Hamas al-Qassam Brigades said the rockets were launched in response to “Zionist massacres against civilians.”

Rafah is located about 100 km (60 miles) south of Tel Aviv.

Israel says it wants to root out Hamas fighters holed up in Rafah and rescue hostages it says are being held in the area.

On Sunday, Israeli strikes killed at least five Palestinians in Rafah, according to local medical services. The Gaza health ministry identified the dead as civilians.

Israeli tanks have probed around the edges of Rafah, near the crossing point from Gaza into Egypt, and have entered some of its eastern districts, residents say, but have not yet entered the city in force since the start of operations in the city earlier this month.

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz said the rockets fired from Rafah “prove that the (Israel Defense Forces) must operate in every place Hamas still operates from.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held an operational assessment in Rafah where he was briefed on “troops’ operations above and below the ground, as well as the deepening of operations in additional areas with the aim of dismantling Hamas battalions,” his office said in a statement.

Itamar Ben Gvir, a hardline public security minister who is not part of Israel’s war cabinet, urged the army to hit Rafah harder. “Rafah with full force,” he posted on X.

Israel began its operations targeting Hamas in Gaza after the Palestinian terrorist group invaded southern Israel on Oct. 7, murdered 1,200 people, and abducted over 250 hostages.

Fighting also continued in the northern Gaza area of Jabaliya, the scene of intense combat earlier in the war. During one raid, the military said it found a weapons storage site with dozens of rocket parts and weapons at a school.

It denied Hamas statements that Palestinian fighters had abducted an Israeli soldier.

Hamas media said an Israeli airstrike on a house in a neighborhood near Jabaliya killed 10 people and wounded others.


Efforts to agree a halt to the fighting and return more than 120 hostages have been blocked for weeks but there were some signs of movement this weekend following meetings between Israeli and U.S. intelligence officials and Qatar’s prime minister.

An official with knowledge of the matter said a decision had been taken to resume the talks this week based on new proposals from Egyptian and Qatari mediators, and with “active U.S. involvement.”

However, a Hamas official played down the report, telling Reuters: “It is not true.”

A second Hamas official, Izzat El-Reshiq, said the group had not received anything from the mediators on new dates for resuming talks as had been reported by Israeli media.

Reshiq restated Hamas’s demands, which include: “Ending the aggression completely and permanently, in all of Gaza Strip, not only Rafah.”

While Israel is seeking the return of hostages, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said the war will not end until Hamas, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction, is eliminated.


Khaled Zayed of the Egyptian Red Crescent told Reuters 200 trucks of aid, including four fuel trucks, were expected to enter Gaza on Sunday through Kerem Shalom.

It follows an agreement between U.S. President Joe Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Friday to temporarily send aid via the Kerem Shalom crossing, bypassing the Rafah crossing that has been blocked for weeks.

Egypt’s state-affiliated Al Qahera News TV shared a video on social media platform X, showing what it said were aid trucks as they entered Kerem Shalom, which before the conflict was the main commercial crossing station between Israel, Egypt and Gaza.

The Rafah crossing has been shut for almost three weeks, since Israel took control of the Palestinian side of the crossing as it stepped up its offensive.

Egypt has been increasingly alarmed at the prospect of large numbers of Palestinians entering its territory from Gaza and has refused to open its side of the Rafah crossing.

Israel has said it is not restricting aid flows and has opened up new crossing points in the north as well as cooperating with the United States, which has built a temporary floating pier for aid deliveries.

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Treasure Trove recalls a time when the Kingdom of Jordan’s pavilion at the World’s Fair generated controversy, protests and a court battle

In this pamphlet, the country of Jordan is billed as the “The Holy Land”. This material introduced visitors to the Kingdom of Jordan pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Ironically, the motto of the fair was “Peace Through Understanding”.  It describes a pavilion that includes a “photographic survey of the Holy […]

The post Treasure Trove recalls a time when the Kingdom of Jordan’s pavilion at the World’s Fair generated controversy, protests and a court battle appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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A shooting at Bais Chaya Mushka Elementary School involving two suspects is being investigated by Toronto Police

Bais Chaya Mushka Elementary School, located near the Finch and Dufferin intersection in Toronto, had shots fired in its direction Saturday at 4:52 a.m. The incident was captured on a security video. The suspects can be seen getting out of a dark-coloured vehicle and opening fire on the school, which serves the Hasidic community with […]

The post A shooting at Bais Chaya Mushka Elementary School involving two suspects is being investigated by Toronto Police appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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