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The Secret of Languages: A Journey of Study and Dialogue

Graduates of the Negev leadership programs of 2016 participated in a retreat in Ein Gedi that included workshops, explorations of leadership in Islam and Judaism, and a meeting with Hadassah Froman

​​In May 2016, this year's graduates of the Mandel leadership programs in the Negev participated in a retreat in Ein Gedi that began with a Biodance workshop, which employed a method called "the dance of life" – a method that combines music, movement, and the language of dance, with personal and group development. During the workshop, participants encountered rhythm and music through movement and contemplation. The opening activity was followed by six workshops led by graduates, in various fields that included cinema, painting, Talmud, and history.

Next, the graduates gathered for a fascinating meeting with Rabbi Dr. Yakov Nagen of the Otniel Yeshiva and Sheikh Abu Sneineh of Hebron, who regularly study together. As the rabbi and the sheikh shared their world views with the participants, they explained what had led them to study together despite the conflict raging around them. The topic of this session, which could have been entitled "From the Head to the Heart," was the leadership of Abraham and Moses in Islam and in Judaism.

The following morning, participants studied the ancient sources of their respective traditions during a walking tour of the kibbutz. The retreat concluded with a meeting with peace activist Hadassah Froman, widow of Rabbi Menahem Froman of Tekoa, and hevruta study (study in pairs) of midrashim from the Zohar, which explored these texts as inspirational sources for individual and group study. The retreat was enriching, rousing, and enjoyable, and gave rise to many questions.