by Camille Grahame
More than 80 young people came together at The Sternberg Centre in Finchley for RSY-Netzer’s Yom Chinuch, our day of learning.
The event was presented as a film festival with a wide range of different sessions, all on the theme of Israel. Popcorn in hand, our chaverim (members) eagerly gathered to watch stimulating films and programmes followed by engaging discussions with some inspiring educators. They explored issues as diverse as feminism, Israeli culture in TV, Jewish identity, issues facing Arab citizens of Israel and politics.
This all reflects our vision for RSY-Netzer: to educate, empower and challenge young Jews, creating a community for them to blossom, while practising our Reform values both within our movement and in the wider world.
In the wider world at the moment, it seems that, all too often, voices are raised in anger and hate.
Donald Trump’s call for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States has unsurprisingly stirred many feelings of unrest and uncertainty.
As a young Jew hearing this from a prominent political candidate in one of the world’s foremost superpowers, I cannot help but feel deeply concerned.
How easy it is to draw comparisons to the rhetoric of Germany in the 1930s. My faith in humanity was restored at our Yom Chinuch event.
I was so inspired by the open-minded, nuanced and kind attitudes of our chaverim and the maturity with which they approached the topics and discussions.
The conversations, of which I was part, with these fantastic young people, reminded me that even when it can seem extremism and bigotry are on the rise, there are still passionate young Jews willing to stand up for their beliefs, our religion and – unlike Donald Trump – our fellow citizens.
• Camille Grahame is an RSY-Netzer movement worker