Last week the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem welcomed twenty college students from around North America for the first Taamu URu funded Winter Break program. For every applicant who was accepted, there were five more who wanted to attend the program for whom we did not have funding. We're beginning now to raise the funds for next year's program and we hope to bring more college students to the next cohort.
These college students have grown up in USY, Camp Ramah and Conservative synagogues. They are knowledgeable, bright, engaged and committed to the values of the Conservative movement – Halacha, Jewish learning and egalitarianism. They entered the Beit Midrash full of energy for Jewish learning, and have travelled from the Kotel to the Supreme Court learning about contemporary Jerusalem as well.
The inauguration of this program is the fulfillment of a dream that has been too many years in the making. For nearly a decade my colleagues and I have been aware of well-funded efforts by ultra- Orthodox organizations such as Aish and Maor to reach college students and to bring them to Israel on low cost trips to be exposed to Jewish learning in Orthodox contexts.
The vibrancy of Orthodox Jewish life on campuses is not an accident nor is it based on superior values in that community. It is based on well-funded, strategic efforts to engage the younger generation, most often led by young leaders with absolute commitments to the value of kiruv.
Let's ask ourselves today what each of us is doing to spread the Jewish values we believe in to the next generation. Having met the Taamu URu participants, many of whom are leaders in the Masorti on Campus initiative, and all of whom are leaders and potential leaders on campuses, I know they are well worth our investment.
Rabbi Gail Diamond
Associate Director and
Director of Institutional Advancement
Conservative Yeshiva of United Synagogue
8 Agron Street, PO Box 7456
Jerusalem, 94265, Israel
US Number 781-325-4631