Hakhel @ Z3

Hakhel brought a delegation of 8 representatives from its North American communities to Palo Alto, CA for an intensive program on Israel engagement from November 2-5, led by Hakhel’s North American Director Deborah Fishman. 

This program is part of Hakhel’s partnership with Z3, named for the third paradigm of Zionism that we find ourselves in today. With the first paradigm having been the work to establish the State, and the second where Israel and the Diaspora were in an unequal relationship (in terms of ideology, finances, politics, etc.), today Z3 works on the principle that the Diaspora and Israel are both important centers of Judaism, and we must work together on this basis to realize our collective potential as a People.

Hakhel and Z3’s partnership is enabling Z3’s new model of Jewish engagement for the 21st century to be applied in practice to Jewish intentional communities in the Diaspora, out of our two organization’s common belief that elevating the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jews is of critical importance to the flourishing of our People. 

From Thursday night through Shabbat, the group worked together to learn about North American Israel-Diaspora community-building, both through meeting with outside guests such as professors at Stanford University, and through workshopping ideas and developing relationships with one another. Then, on Sunday, the group participated in the Z3 conference, an initiative of the Oshman Family JCC which models how Zionism can evolve and how our communities can come together for meaningful discussions about the Diaspora and Israel. Following this program, these representatives are returning home to implement a Z3 project in their local communities. 

While participating representatives hailed from a wide range of Hakhel communities – from kibbutz-style co-housing to arts & culture-focused to the young adult communities of alumni of a youth movement – they found that connecting with others engaged in the work of intentional community-building was a meaningful way to alleviate some of the loneliness (and at times even burnout) of being a community leader, and to find new inspiration and ideas. This is the power – and the fun! – of the Hakhel network!

Hakhel communities all have Israel engagement as one core pillar for the content of their community life and programming. In this extremely challenging time, considering the terrible atrocities that happened in Israel, subsequent war, and the rampant strife, intimidation and alienation around those who support Israel, and Jews in general, in the Diaspora, this opportunity sought to provide community representatives with inspiration, connection, and the support of peer community leaders around the issue of Israel engagement, now more critical than ever.

Hakhel hopes other regions may likewise benefit from our creating similar experiences around the Hakhel-Z3 partnership, as well as through learning from and potentially applying the Z3 projects being created by these North American Hakhel communities to their own community contexts.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Deborah Fishman at deborah.fishman@adamah.org.