Forging Impactful Connections

With Today’s Israel

JFNA Intermediate Executives Institute

February 5—12, 2017

Tentative Suggested Itinerary


Institute Objectives

  • Deepen understanding of the complex political, social and economic issues and trends that Israel is currently dealing with, and are of strategic importance to North American Jewry e.g. religious pluralism, social cohesion, minority integration, Arab-Jewish relations, entrepreneurship/high tech innovation, etc.

  • Expose colleagues to new opportunities, initiatives and approaches for strengthening Israel engagement and fundraising that can be applied to local federations.

  • Provide opportunities for bonding among Intermediate Execs, with an emphasis on welcoming new colleagues into the group.

  • Include topics and site visits that are not part of traditional missions.



Possible prism for all visits

President Reuven Rivlin’s New Concept of Partnership


  • A sense of security for each "tribe" – meaning that each group will retain and preserve the fundamentals of their "tribal" identity;

  • Shared responsibility: All four "tribes" share an equal responsibility for the future of Israel and its society, implicitly suggesting that all the "tribes" should shoulder the collective burdens of the society;

  • Equity and equality – the bedrock of the partnership is to preclude any form of discrimination or favoritism based "tribal" membership and providing all citizens equal opportunities and access to the "Israeli dream";

  • Shared "Israeli-ness" – the creation or invention of a newly shared "Israeli character"




Sunday, February 5, 2017

Arrival ברוכים הבאים

  • Various arrivals throughout the day.

  • Program begins at the Jerusalem hotel at 7:00 p.m.

  • Check into Jerusalem hotel.

  • Framing the Israel Experience, welcome Dinner with, Becky Caspi, Senior VP, Global Operations & Director General, JFNA Israel – Setting the Stage and short remarks by an Israeli Leader.

  • Free night in Jerusalem.

Overnight: King David Hotel, Jerusalem



Monday, February 6, 2017

Tensions and Creativity—Between Religions and Between Jews

A sense of security

  •            Breakfast at the hotel.

7:30 am   High Level Security Briefing on current geo-political issues and realities

8:30 am   Depart Hotel.

9:00 am   Opening with President Reuven Rivlin to discuss his Four Pillars of Contemporary Israeli Community and potential                                           opportunities for partnership with Jewish Federations

10:30 am Azarat Yisrael: What Now? With Yizhar Hess, Executive Director of the Masorti Movement and Rabbi Noa Satath or Anat Hoffman                  of the Israel Religious Action Center  or Rabbi Gilad Kariv, Executive Director of the  Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, at                        JAFI headquarters, followed by a conversation with JAFI chairman, Natan Sharansky.

  •            Short half hour visit to the Kotel Plaza and Azarat Yisrael.

1:30 pm  Walk through the Machane Yehudah market with Rabbi Aharon Leibowitz, founder of Hashgacha Pratit, an attempt to re-define                    kashrut in Jerusalem by providing kosher certification for restaurants without going through the chief rabbinate, a system                                  known to be difficult and subject to occasional corruption, including lunch at one of the restaurants under the supervision.

4:00 pm  Jewish Religious Politics—Meet with Rabbi Seth Farber for an overview of the major issues facing Israel’s attempt to create Jewish                        co-existence, followed by a visit at the offices of Giyur Kalalacha (the new conversion court) or the offices of ITIM, possibly with                      rabbis from Tzohar.

  •            Return to the hotel.

7:30 pm   The Haredi Reality in Israel Today, dinner with sociologist Neri Horowitz. 

  •            Group discussion.

Overnight: King David Hotel, Jerusalem



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Long Path Towards Tolerance, Pluralism, Mutual Dependence

Equity and Equality

8:00 am    Breakfast at the hotel with Yossi Klein Halevi of the Shalom Hartman Institute, “Sharing a Land – Living in Two States: Is It Possible?

10:30 am  Visit the Yad Be Yad – Hand in Hand, Bi Lingual School in Southern Jerusalem for a special program with teachers and students on                    creating a new narrative in a multi-narrative environment.

  •              Lunch on your own en route.

1:30 pm     The Geoolitics of Jerusalem, explore the realities on the ground along the boundaries between Jewish and Arab neighborhoods                       and their influence on international diplomatic dialogue

4:00 pm     Understanding the Current Political Labarynth, with Professor Reuven Hazan of the Hebrew University.

7:00 pm     Roundtable Discussions over dinner with scholars from the Shalom Hartman Institute and the Pardes Institute for Jewish                                Studies.

Overnight: King David Hotel, Jerusalem


 Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Zionist Dreams, Zionist RealitiesShared Responsibility I

  •               Breakfast at the hotel.

7:30 am      Depart for the Negev Desert.

  •               Introduction to the day with the Inter-agency taskforce on Israeli Arab Issues.

  •               Drive to Hura.

9:30 am      Rebuilding the Zionist Dream in the Negev—socio-ethnic challenges facing the northern Negev, tensions with the Bedouin,                                     balancing tradition and modernity.  Meet Hura mayor Alnabari and learn about the extraordinary successes of his small city, the                     unfinished business that still beckons, and the serious challenges he and his community face, with representatives of Desert                             Stars hear the story of how they are working together to promote a better, more just and equal, Israeli society in the Negev.

  •               Drive to Yerucham (45 minutes)

12:30 pm   Lunch in Yerucham with the young and innovative mayor, Michael Bitton, at the Iris Bamidbar Hotel, a social-economic venture                       which is geared to both create jobs and commerce in Yerucham, as well as generate income for the development of the city,                            leveraging philanthropic partnerships that can be applied to intermediate communities as a tool for engagement.  

  •               Drive to the new IDF Training City

2:45 pm      Ben Gurion’s Dream @2016, stop at the Ir HaBahadim – the new IDF Training City, which when complete, will house the vast                            majority of IDF training bases and will become a central building block in the population of the Negev. 

  •                Drive to Tel Aviv.

  •                Check into Tel Aviv Hotel.

  •                IFEI Working Dinner at the Hotel.

    •                                   FEDOVATIONS 

    •                                   Internal working program, possibly sharing of White Papers

    •                                   Partnership successes and challenges (P2G)

    •                                   Discussion on challenges and opportunities related to Israel Engagement/ and funding


Overnight: Dan Hotel, Tel Aviv


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Bettering Society, One Step at a Time

Shared Responsibility II

  •                Breakfast at the hotel.

8:00 am       Drive to Lod.

8:30 am       Workshop with the Maoz Network, exploring some of the ways in which contemporary Israeli leaders engage with some of                               Israel’s most challenging issues.

                                        MAOZ, which brings together professionals from the business, public and NGO sectors, seeks to address the most intractable                                                   challenges facing the State of Israel’s socio-economic future by building a diverse network of committed leaders who work                                                       together to advance meaningful social initiatives and reforms.

11:00 am     Visit to the new Arabic ORT School in Lod and meet with Principal Shirin Natur Hafi, who has brought educational hope to one                       of Israel’s most difficult neighborhoods.

  •                 Visit the Israel Design Museum  in Holon. ( Time Permitting)

  •                 Lunch on your own en route.

  •                 Drive to Beit Yehoshua.

2:30 pm        Israel’s Housing Challenge, with Professor Neta Ziv at Tel Aviv University, at Sheatufim in Beit Yehoshua.

4:00 pm        Conclude the day at Sheatufim in Beit Yehoshua, focusing on Israeli philanthropy and efforts to achieve social change, with the                        participation of organizations and funds connected to the Israel Venture Network, such as Dualis, Yozma, Tandem and others.

6:30 p.m.      Depart for Tel Aviv.

  •                 Dinner on your own followed by an optional Cultural Event and/or Late Night TLV.


Overnight: Dan Hotel, Tel Aviv


Friday, February 10, 2017

Thinking Deeply About Identity and Our Aspirations

Shared "Israeli-ness”

  •                Breakfast at the hotel.

  •                Optional: Early Morning Bike or Segway Ride along the Tel Aviv Promenade.

8:30 am       Depart the hotel.

9:00 am       At her home in Jaffa meet with scholar Rachel Korazim teaching—Defining Identity in Israeli Society—The Israeli and the Jew:                                         Who Are We?

  •                Meet with US Ambassador Dan Shapiro or another embassy official.

1:30 pm       A Tel Aviv Shabbat/Weekend, walking tour with artist Shirel Horowitz –Exploring Graffiti in the alleyways of Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv                              Galleries, Beneath the Surface in Florentine, The American Colony and the people who make it all happen.

  •                Free time to enjoy Tel Aviv.

5:00 pm       Shabbat Candle Lighting Time.


Overnight: Dan Hotel, Tel Aviv


Shabbat, February 11, 2017

A Tel Aviv Shabbat

  •                Breakfast at the hotel.

  •                Opional Shabbat services at local Tel Aviv synagogues.

  •                Optional Shabbat Lunch at the Hotel.

  •                Day at leisure or optional possibilities include:

    •                              Guided walk through the neighborhood of Neve Zedek.

    •                              Walking Tour along the Tel Aviv Promenade to Jaffa, followed by a guided tour of Jaffa.

    •                              Visit the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

    •                              Visit Beit Hatfutstot.

    •                              Walking Tour to Bialik St., for a guided visit through part of the White City—UNESCO Heritage Bauhaus Collection                                and a glimpse into the lives of some of Tel Aviv’s most significant residents of years gone by: Author Chaim                                              Nachman Bialik and artist Reuven Rubin.

  •                Ben Kodesh Lechol Havdallah – Group Havdallah on the Beach.

  •                Free time in Tel Aviv and dinner on your own.


Overnight: Dan Hotel, Tel Aviv



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Focusing on Solutions and Heading Home

Bringing the Four Pillars Together

  •                Breakfast at the hotel.

8:30 am       Meet with MK Dafni Leef who, after giving an update on recent socio economic trends in Israel, will help the group process the                         national and religious tensions and offer a recipe for hope, a path towards reconciliation and unity.

10:00 am      Small group visits to JDC and JAFI sites in the Tel Aviv area.

1:00 pm        Working Meeting with lunch.

 2:30 pm       Free time in Tel Aviv.

6:30 pm        Israel, The United States and the Jewish People: Festive Farewell dinner with Professor Itamar Rabinovitch, former Ambassador                             to the United States and President of Tel Aviv University possibly at Tel Aviv University. (Pending Confirmation)

  •                 Depart for Ben Gurion Airport.

  •                 Departure flights to the United States.

Please Note:  Program is subject to change

Speakers are not yet confirmed






Optional Extension to the West Bank/Judea-Samaria



Monday, February 13, 2017


This day will begin at 7:00 a.m.

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Israel and Palestinians: Where do we Stand Now? Introductory briefing

  • Depart for Ramallah for a short guided visit and meeting with Pollster Khalil Shekaki, for a snapshot of contemporary Palestinian Society.

  • Meet with young Palestinian Entrepreneurs for an inside look at the dichotomy between innovative success and struggle for statehood.

  • My Israel, Lunch at the Psagot  Winery, followed by a guided visit through the settlement of Psagot and a dialogue with residents on why living in the Biblical heartland of Israel, is imperative for the continuation of the State of Israel.  

  • My Palestine, Depart for Rawabi, the new Palestinian city north of Ramallah for glimpse at this unique project, a synthesis between private enterprise, and public resources, to create one of the anchors of the future Palestinian State, including a meeting and dialogue with developer, Bashar el Masri. (Pending security confirmation).

  • Return to Tel Aviv.

  • Wrap up over dinner.

The final program for this day will be determined closer to the time of the Institute