• CEO Corner: Onward Israel’s 13th Cohort Begins

    There are many significant dates in the Onward Israel Calendar: the opening of registration, the closing of registration, our semiannual partner and organizer meetings and our board meetings all have great importance. But no day is more important than May 2.

    May 2nd marked the official beginning of the 13th cohort of Onward Israel – Summer 2018. Thirty-three participants from Toronto – one of our oldest programs, sending cohorts every year since 2012 – began their Onward Israel experience and kicked off the summer programs.

    For the next several weeks, they will live in the center of Tel Aviv, intern in a vast array of Israeli start-ups, big companies, non-profits and research institutes throughout the metropolitan area and take part in a variety of educational activities – day trips, evening meetings and a weekend seminar. They will also be the first group this summer to have their experience enriched through the Onward Israel App. Among other places, participants will intern at HP, the Jerusalem Post, wikistrat, 365 scores, the Abraham Hostel and Tel Aviv University. Welcome Toronto Onward Israel.

    Throughout the month of May additional groups will arrive, with the bulk arriving in June and early July. While final numbers are not yet in, we project that more than 2200 young people will participate in Onward Israel this summer- more than 400 more than last summer- resulting in our largest summer yet. In fact, participation in Onward Israel has doubled over the last four years – now reaching a yearly total of more than 2500 participants.

    We are very thankful for our partners across the globe who have worked all year to publicize, market, recruit, screen and assemble their cohorts. This involves a lot of hard work and dedication, but it all pays off for Toronto and soon for more than 70 other partners and cohorts. This collaborative effort, crossing over geographical, denominational and ideological lines, is what makes Onward Israel so special, and I believe meaningful, for the Jewish future and its relationship with Israel.

    I wish all of our participants a meaningful, transformative and invaluable summer experience. I hope they gain what thousands of Onward Israel alumni have already gained: the chance to directly interact with Israeli society, build their resume and deepen and widen their knowledge and understanding of the world around them, of Israel and of their own identity. I hope to meet many of them and look forward to seeing everyone on June 27 at the Onward Israel Summer 2018 Connections event in Tel Aviv.

    Ilan Wagner