Reflection On North American Young Leaders Mission to Berlin

Spending four days with young Jews from all over the world has been an overwhelming experience. Not only have I learned about different communities and their traditions, I’ve mostly realized how easily I’ve taken for granted my Jewish identity and observance. North America has extremely unique Jewish communities where being Jewish is a lot easier than other places in our world — something I know I don’t often think about but am thankful to have had to time to listen and learn from those who are active in creating Jewish communities from almost nothing.  

Many of the participants of Marom Olami have had to actively seek out, develop and work towards having an active Jewish community they feel comfortable or obligated to belong to. Regardless of how many years ago their efforts started or how successful the events may have been, the underlying connection between us all is the importance of three main things:

על שלושה דברים העולם עומד. על התורה, ועל העבודה, ועל גמילות חסדים

Marom Olami prides themselves on this being the core competencies of what makes their organization special and effective globally.

Learning about the struggles and the successes of communities in Uganda, Kiev, Budapest, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Moscow, Brazil, Paris, Spain, Berlin, London, Prague and Israel has made me appreciate and recognize just how lucky I am to be a Conservative Jewish New Yorker, with endless opportunities and religious freedoms and as well as easily accessible outlets to observe and congregate.

We know there is an overwhelming amount of Conservative communities that exist and are tangible so I don’t have to work extremely hard to find a place to fit in, although I (and other Reshet Ramah members) do have to work hard to develop and be a part of the successful Ramah community that we help maintain and support years after being campers.  Part of me knows that other countries are envious of the ease in our situation, but another part of me will never understand the personal sacrifice and devotion that these incredible leaders have towards the sustainability of their big or small, stagnant or growing Jewish communities.

So I thank all the participants from all over the world for opening my naive and closed eyes. The picture that has been painted by all countries has deeply impacted my view of global modern conservative Jewry. As we recited that Shabbat, חזק חזק ונתחזק.

Arielle Glaser hails from Oradell, NJ, and spent many summers as a Ramah Berkshires camper, and five summers as a staff member. Arielle holds positions on multiple committees at Ramah Berkshires and is active in the Reshet Ramah New York young leadership gar’in. She graduated from Syracuse University and is currently an Associate Product Manager for Macy’s Merchandising Group in New York.