Graduating from the Social Cohesion Leadership program
Working at a social non-profit organization requires us, as leaders of social projects, to think "outside the box" and delve deeper into fundamental challenges in Israeli society in order to try to use the resources at our disposal to help solve them. As part of my role as a program manager at my organization, I was privileged to embark on a unique training program aimed at expanding horizons and diving into the wonderful and complex thing called Israeli society to create collaborations that promote social cohesion. The social cohesion leadership program, in cooperation with the Arison Foundation, Merchavim Institute, and Ruach Tova, is spread over five months and takes participants on a courageous and meaningful journey into the depths of Israeliness. During the program, I got to hear firsthand about the experience of living here from a variety of different angles and mainly tried to understand how the organization I represent can fit into the picture and break down barriers toward a fairer and more inclusive society. We talked quite a bit about privileges, identities, equality, and fairness, and we discovered bright spots in thinking about shared spaces of agreement that can bring us closer to those we perceive as different and lightyears away from us. Between all the circles of dialogue and fun, we also tried to work.
One of the main goals of the program was to think of an action plan for my organization that would promote social cohesion along with the organization's goals. The challenge in thinking about an action plan in the context of an organization like the 8200 Alumni Association, for which social cohesion is part of its DNA, is in finding challenges that we have not yet delved into.
In the picture: I with the action plan in question – helping to integrate Arab citizens into advanced careers. In the thought process, I used the organization's vision and focused on several guiding principles of social cohesion: economic prosperity alongside reducing economic gaps, trust between all citizens, and economic, material, and symbolic-emotional belonging. This is an opportunity to say thank you to the Arison Foundation, Merchavim, Ruach Tova, and my tremendous managers for the opportunity to take part in such a significant program! It's not every day that you get to stop the routine, sit down, and talk to such an amazing and diverse group of people from across the political, social, and sectoral spectrum about how we can do good here.
Rotem Binstock, a graduate of the program's ninth cohort