The specialized seminars conducted by this department are:
The Social and Environmental Justice Seminar – A program that was first developed at the Rutenberg Institute twenty years ago, and has grown to stimulate thousands of young people to not only learn about, but also disseminate these Jewish values to their home groups and communities.
The program not only includes excellent lectures and discussions concerning these very important subjects, but provides actual hands-on volunteer experience on a daily basis. These experiences include a children’s hospital, a day care center for the elderly, a school for children with severe disabilities, and caring for animals at the zoo. In addition, the warm spring and summer weather provides a chance to swim at Haifa’s lovely beaches, and a chance to help clean the coastal area. In other words, the total experience is to stimulate and teach the participants to do good deeds in different settings.
Groups spend from four to eight days with us, so we are able to include many additional activities in addition to the basic volunteer experience. Special visits are set up to meet with groups in, and around, Haifa from different religious and ethnic communities. It is not only to visit the Baha’i Gardens, but to talk to teachers of the Ahmadiim Muslim sect. There is a meeting with the Ethiopian community and Russian community to learn of their aliyah; but we also have a Kibbutz Ironi here in Haifa, as well as the National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space. We try to include the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and Haifa University, each of which provides special insights into Israeli institutions of higher learning and high tech.
The staff of the television/video facility of the Institute can spend a few hours with them, and train them to bring the message to their community; and understand how they can use correct skills in television, i-phones, posters, and other resources to get to the individuals and groups at home.
Preparation of Israeli Groups Going to Programs Abroad – A variety of groups from different parts of Israel whose youth are prepared for programs in varied settings abroad:
At present the department is working with the youth preparing to go to the summer program for youth conducted by Brandies University. Youth from various parts of North America and abroad participate in an intensive month long learning program at the university . These Israeli youth are selected and prepared for this experience.
A different setting for specially selected Israeli youth is the Sarvaz Camp conducted by the Joint Distribution Committee in Hungary. In addition to the participating youth from Eastern and Western Europe, there are participants from India, South America and North America. The Israeli participants have the role of not only representing themselves, but providing for a strong Israeli presence during many of the two week camp sessions.
Adult Groups from Abroad that want to come to Israel for special individual and community purposes have also been part of the agenda of the department. The aim here is to develop and assist in providing the program for the adult group that fulfills these purposes. Examples of these programs are:
The Boston – Haifa Adult Group that Assists in the Schools is an example of this type of group. People from Boston come to Haifa to help teach English in the schools, from elementary through high school, under the supervision of the head of the school’s English department. They have, over the years, developed warm bonds with the schools, and have made a very positive impact on the pupils. During their time here they travel to various parts of the country, and have a chance to strengthen their ties with Israel; all of this happening for a period of a month, and at their own expense. The program is conducted by the Boston – Haifa Connection office in Israel, and is under their supervision; which has maintained a long standing development of other Boston – Haifa programs both in Israel and Boston.
The Confederation Israelite of Brazil Leadership Project in Israel is a continuation of their leadership program in Brazil. A group of specially chosen individuals, ranging in age from their late twenties to fifties, spent two weeks in Israel on a very intensive program of visits and lecture discussions throughout the country. A guide accompanies them from their arrival to departure. The Rutenberg supervisor arranges and follows the program for its entire stay, and meets with the group when they return to the Institute between visits. These included places such as the Ghetto Fighters Museum, Acre, Safad, The Hulah Bird Sanctuary, Tiberias, and the Golan Heights in the upper north. The Druze community at Dalyat El Carmel, Ethiopian and Brazilian youth programs in the Yemin Orde Religious Youth Village, Arts at Ein Hod Artist Village. Arab Christian and Muslim communities in Haifa and Abu Gosh; The Technion, Haifa University, Tel Aviv University and Beit Harfutsot Museum of the Jewish People ; Jerusalem’s Ultra -Orthodox and Reform Jewish communities; The Israel Foreign Ministry and their South American specialists, as well as the Jewish Agencies leadership and South American specialists; Special visits to the south that include Midreshet Ben Gurion, an IDF Air force base, as well as towns and Bedouin settlements. This program also includes a few hours of television instruction, activity, and discussion at the Institute of how they can publicize their programs in Brazil.
Limmud Haifa is a project that is part of the world wide Limmud program, and takes place on the institute campus. Jewish communal leaders from the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and secular communities arrange the program for its various evening meetings during the year that attract dozens of people from these communities to learn about Judaism. In addition there is a half day seminar that attracts hundreds of people to participate, and includes rabbis of all denominations, guest lecturers, and an entertainment segment.
The Rutenberg Institute’s non – denominational status in accepting groups of all faiths, makes it a perfect site for all groups coming from abroad, and participating in Israeli programs.