The YESOD Partnership: Collaborating to Strengthen the Future of European Jewish Life

About heather - young people at a seminar

What is it?

A new initiative, funded by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation and the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe, offering young Jewish adults in Europe with the networks, knowledge and skills to help them create vibrant and meaningful Jewish life in their communities and across Europe.

The YESOD Partnership offers:

  • YESOD Gatherings: Gatherings for European young adults focused on strengthening Jewish life in Europe. Existing frameworks of the Schusterman Connection Point gatherings, (initiated by young adults) and JDC Junction (focused on engaging emerging Jewish leaders from the European business community) will be the basis of the YESOD Gatherings.
  • YESOD Seminars: Professional development for Jewish educators and community activists. An array of training and learning opportunities for European educators, activists and community lay and professional leaders. This will include short residential seminars, distance learning and 1:1 mentoring programs. Content will focus on Jewish knowledge, effective community development strategies and project management skills.
  • YESOD Resources: Support services to strengthen the Jewish professional infrastructure in Europe. This will include research, a bank of resources such as speakers, job and training opportunities, learning resources, information dissemination and professional support networks.

Why is it needed?

Jewish life in Europe is complex, nuanced and diverse; and the provision of meaningful Jewish education is hampered by the challenges of recruitment, training, support and retention of Jewish educators, in both formal and informal settings.

Currently, the frameworks and positions providing informal Jewish education in Europe are largely sustained by external philanthropic funds which are likely to diminish in the long term. Communities, lay-leaders and activists need the tools and Jewish knowledge to be able to take increasing responsibility for their Jewish continuity.

While YESOD will aim to address the professional development needs of emerging, experienced and senior Jewish educators, it will also focus on the Jewish Education needs of para-professionals (part- timers and/or people who will work in Jewish education for a number of years and move on), community development professionals and lay leaders.

The fundamental premise of YESOD is that Jewish life in Europe will be strengthened and sustained within the constraints of demographic and economic trends, by improving the provision of Jewish education, mainly in informal settings, and by increasing the Jewish education capacity of communities.