Into the Light

Day 3: August 5, 2015

Daniel Meisel (Santa Barbara, CA)

We began our afternoon with a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. Before experiencing the Memorial exhibits, we learned about the extensive work of the International School of Holocaust Studies to help educators worldwide communicate not just the history, but the meaning of the Holocaust in a way that can impact our present and future. They are engaged in an important race against time to make the most of the remaining first-hand accounts from those who bore witness to these events. The educational arm of Yad Vashem reaches tens of thousands of students worldwide (many in cooperation with the ADL through the online Holocaust education curriculum and teacher training program Echoes & Reflections), and millions more through its website, www.yadvashem.org.

The memorial itself should be experienced rather than described. I will only say that it is a powerful and visceral journey through darkness and enlightenment.

We returned to our hotel to meet with Sigal Kanotopsky, CEO of Olim Beyahad (which means “Rising Up Together”), an organization engaged in improving employment opportunities for Jewish Ethiopian Israelis. She and her colleagues are doing wonderful work to redefine the Ethiopian Israeli community’s internal narrative and, with the help of business leaders, to add avenues for Ethiopian Israelis to join Israel’s workforce.

The kind of social change Olim Beyahad is pursuing couldn’t be more aligned with ADL’s mission and history. We had a great discussion of possible strategies, and it certainly felt as if ADL could serve as a helpful ally for Sigal and Olim Beyahad in their ongoing efforts.

We capped the day with a vibrant working session of our own over dinner with Jonathan, Michael Salberg, Carole Nuriel (Director of ADL’s Israel office), and stellar ADL staffers Gabby (Israel) and Gabby (NY). The raison d’être of Leadership 2020 is to contribute meaningfully to ADLs efforts, and the invitation to do so that Jonathan provided via this group discussion and beyond is sure to rank among the highlights of our trip.

Before my head hit the pillow, I took a moment to tweet, post, share, like, check, retweet, blink, follow, repost, medium, mailchimp, and repeat.

Now if I could only find a moment to sleep…