NEW YORK (Aug. 12)
A new program has been launched in Israel to develop a young leadership in the diaspora to teach Jewish culture and tradition in an effort to convince young Jews not to “drop out,” according to a spokesman for Bank Leumi which is co-sponsoring the program with the World Zionist Organization.
The project, which the spokesman emphasized is still “in formation,” is called “Friends of Jerusalem.” Leon Dulzin, chairman of the WZO and Jewish Agency Excutives, will serve as chairman of the committee of trustees for the project. Prof. Shlomo Fuchs, an educator in Israel with notable achievements in the field of Jewish and general education, will chair an academic committee that will guide the project.
The project will seek out 30 promising young students in the diaspora who will undergo three years of intensive training and education in Israel in the field of Jewish tradition and culture. The training will be individualized and will include studies at Israel’s universities, group seminars, and practical work under the guidance of leading educators. At the conclusion of their training, the specialists will return to their home countries to teach. Training will begin in September, 1982.
The Bank Leumi spokesman said a set of guidelines to determine which students will be selected has yet to be worked out. At this time the cost of the project has not been determined, he added.
BANK’S INTEREST IN PROJECT
E. I. Japhet, chairman of Bank Leumi, recently told a group of prominent Jewish leaders visiting Jerusalem, Hebrew University faculty members and leading Israeli dignitaries that the bank is particularly interested in the project because it is “a natural addition” to the bank’s continuing interest in improving social conditions in Israel and among Jews in the diaspora. These include ongoing programs of support in the fields of medicine, art, education and assistance to the needy.
The “Friends of Jerusalem” project is especially significant to the bank, Japhet said, because the creation of the bank was due in large measure to the efforts of Theodor Herzl. The Bank Leumi group now has 61 offices outside Israel.