Euro stars training for the future

By Jennifer Lipman, August 18, 2011
Nancy-Luz Toff, Noa Lessof Gendler, Sara Epstein, Jenna Goodwin, James Walters

Nancy-Luz Toff, Noa Lessof Gendler, Sara Epstein, Jenna Goodwin, James Walters

Five teenagers from London, Bath and Dublin are spending their summer on a project looking to the future of European Jewish life.

The teens are in Israel on a three-week training and leadership seminar organised by World Ort.

Along with other young European Jews from a range of social and religious backgrounds, they have been meeting government ministers and social activists and receiving a crash course in Jewish history. They have also visited Ort's Sha'ar Hanegev School near the Gaza border. A boy was killed when a rocket hit the school bus in April.

The Israel seminar is part of World Ort's inaugural Future Leaders programme, arming young people with the skills to enhance their communities.

After leaving Israel next week, they will be assigned mentors to help them set up community projects.

It’s really beneficial to share ideas and resources

"I've got so much out of it," said Dubliner Sara Epstein, 16, who with her friend Jenna Goodwin plans to develop a fun and educational website for Jewish children.

"The Irish community is so small and the kids I teach at cheder are just not interested," she said. "They want to be like their friends and have communion. I've met so many people who have given advice on how to change that."

"It's been really beneficial to meet people and share ideas and resources," said Noa Lessof-Gendler, a youth council member at New North London synagogue. "Everyone faces the same problems and we can take home each other's suggestions."

JFS pupil Nancy Luz Toff and James Walters are also on the seminar.

Last updated: 3:08pm, August 18 2011