How do you shift from philosophy and theory to one practice? How do you translate a year-long experience of discussing and clarifying values such as solidarity, camaraderie, liberty, authenticity, equality and tikun olam (“repairing the world”) into action that will truly make the world a somewhat better place?
This is the challenge faced by the Mandel local leadership program in Beer Sheva as it enters its second year. The 18 program participants will look at how these questions play out in terms of their activities, their personalities and their world-views. As Israel Sorek, one of the program directors, explains:
"We want to continuously improve reality, but we have never advocated change for the sake of change. And we do not consider leadership to be a set of tools. Rather, it is the ability to outline objectives that have values at their core and that are a product of a world-view. This is why we do not 'translate' values into the language of reality, but rather act in both worlds simultaneously. In order to fulfill our aspiration to create a better reality ,we have to be grounded in the day-to-day but we also have to feel at home with concepts such as justice, morality and solidarity. In any event, the key is knowing how to convincingly justify our choices of what to do and what not to do. The ability to explain using pan-human values is very rare nowadays."
Many of the participants are interested in the dialogue between Jews and Arabs in the Negev; others are interested in developing community and culture, and in the links between the two; and there are those who focus on youth leadership, on therapy for youth at risk, and more.
The program takes place on Thursdays at the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev, and some of its activities will be open to the public.