F2F Alumni participated in TEDxyouth Holon for Social Awareness and Entrepreneurship – Part I
By Miki Joelson
If you still haven’t watched a TED talk, you should. This initiative, meant to spread ideas by getting people to share their personal experiences, has become
one of the best means to get a message through and expose it to a large number of people. It has become so popular, that TEDx events were created, following the same format but initiated independently and locally.
On April 25, 2013, the second TEDxyouth event, which took place in Holon, by Tovanot BeHinucH (Insights in Education), was dedicated to teen creativity, discoveries, development and social entrepreneurship. During the whole day teens talked and their peers and school principals listened. They spoke about excellence in sports, art as a social tool, technological inventions and many other topics, all of which was truly inspiring! When I found out there will be a session about social change, I immediately thought that teen age participants Face to Face / Faith to Faith, an international interreligious dialogue program implemented by ICCI in Jerusalem and the Auburn Theological Seminary in New York for the past 11 years, should be present there.
Idan Levy, a 2011 alumnus of ICCI’s Face to Face / Faith to Faith a program in Israel, stepped up to the challenge.
Idan lives in Jerusalem, and in the past few years has led several social action projects, as part of his role as chairman of Jerusalem’s city-wide youth council, and has participated in several social awareness and leadership programs, such as Face To Face and , a program for developing youth leadership in Israel. He talked about a meaningful social change, which has to start with one’s own reflection and change:
“When hearing about leaders and changes they have made, we usually think of great leaders, like Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights revolution he brought to the United States,, or like David Ben Gurion who took the Zionist vision and made it into a sustainable state for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. But this is not necessarily so. Great leaders are not measured by the change they made, but by the way the led themselves and inspired others by doing so. The great changes a person can do are within him, and through them he or she can create a real social change.
Therefore, I see two main principles in leadership: the way one conducts oneself and one’s inner change. Naturally in my short lecture I will not be able to give you my whole thesis for this notion, but I will try to give you a tool for implementing this, by telling you my personal story.
This may sound odd to you, but this tool is not within us. It lies within our friends, the ones who care about us enough to criticize the way we conduct ourselves and sometimes show us where we are wrong.
To me, friendship is a joint journey, created while walking towards a shared goal (values and ideas). But even if the roads do not always coincide and there are separations (differences and heterogeneity), the road will not end if the ones walking on it will go through a process and learn something about themselves, their friends and the world.
I met such friends in LEAD, an organization for leadership development in Israel. They have helped me to see the way I conduct myself, the way I behave and even to see my personality the way it is perceived by others. They have helped me make some changes in order to become a better person, a better leader. They are the ones who taught me, that if something bothers you, go out and change it, being aware is not enough.
The second place which led me to change greatly, which those who encounter me now can also see by the kipah I wear, is the Face to Face program, planned and implemented by The Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) and the Auburn Theological Seminary in New York. At an intensive two summer camp experience, which took place in upstate New York in summer, 2011 I met people from three religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), from the United States of America, Northern Ireland and South Africa. It was through our differences that I was compelled for the first time in my life to ask questions about myself, my religion, my nationality and the way they are manifested in my personal life. I learned the value of differences, and how much it can teach you about yourself.
At this amazing camp experience, when I was asked about my Judaism I understood that I didn’t know enough, and in the name of trying to resemble others I denied what made me different and unique, and by doing that – instead of creating acceptance and love for the other among us, we create hate.”
[Idan Levy, 18, alumnus of Face to Face, Jerusalem group, 2011]