The Negev Lab series, an initiative of the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev led by Dr. Ruth Calderon and Dr. Adi Nir-Sagi, is a forum for leaders and key figures from the Negev region who come together to explore issues related to local arts and culture and come away with inspiration. Participants in the second session of this series included leading figures from local government, public institutions, and culture and arts organizations in the Negev.
Professor Rachel Elior, professor emerita of Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, gave a lecture titled “The Judean Desert Scrolls: Between Past and Present,” in which she spoke about the desert as an open space that preserves memories and history of social life in bygone days, while at the same time serving as home to a diverse array of modern-day cultures. She asserted that in order to bring about change and create a new reality, leaders must know how to “tell a story” and to act on the basis of a well-formed vision. She quoted from
Sefer Yetzirah, an early Jewish mystical work: “The world was created through three ‘sefarim’: the book (sefer), the desert (sfar), and the story (sipur).”
The session proved a fruitful continuation of the discussion about the role of culture in the Negev and the importance of developing leadership for local arts and culture, which began in the first meeting.