Marsh returns to UJIA to support the young


The former director of Limmud, Shelley Marsh, has returned to UJIA to head a new national network to support Jewish youth.

Ms Marsh - who was UJIA director of informal education before joining Limmud two years ago - has started her role as director of Reshet - Hebrew for "network".

"My passion has always been working with young Jewish people in developing their identity," she said.

She will co-ordinate the work of some 2,000 people involved in running informal Jewish education activities in the UK, as well as encouraging professional training and development.

The creation of Reshet followed a joint UJIA-Jewish Leadership Council commission into youth chaired by Jeremy Isaacs - and further work by a group chaired by Lord Kestenbaum.

Reshet will cover youth provision across the board - Zionist movements, synagogue groups, scouts, guides and the increasing informal education in Jewish schools. It will look at "how we get young people to continue a meaningful engagement with the community", Ms Marsh said. "How do they find their space in the community? Is it social action, learning Hebrew, Jewish studies or none of those things? How do we bring in those who feel disengaged?

"We'll also be assessing how Israel fits in with that. The numbers going on tour remain fantastic. But Israel is complicated, as we know. And how do those who haven't been exposed to youth organisations or Jewish school engage with Israel?"

The new network will harness the interests of individual workers and share their knowledge across a wider field. "There is a woman working in the community who is an expert in statutory child protection, for example. She can continue working in her own small part of the community, or share best practice right across it." Reshet will be overseen by former Limmud chairman Elliott Goldstein, who was "delighted to be chairing an initiative that embodies the community's investment in its youth".

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