brings together 200+ young social entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds including Ultra-Orthodox, traditional and secular Jews, Palestinian Muslims and Christians, Ethiopian Israelis, members of the LGBTQ community and others, to work together to build a better future for all of Jerusalem’s diverse inhabitants. They have met the moment through innovation grants to advance civil society social cohesion within and across sectors, trauma relief and mental health support in East Jerusalem, and other efforts to undergird democratic institutions.
Announcing A New Fund
Jewish Democracy in Israel Fund
Donating through Impact Cubed is a quick way to support many efforts on the ground that preserve and advance democracy including those explained below. You may designate your contribution or ask that it be allocated to the greatest need as directed by Impact Cubed advisors for immediate and ongoing impact. 100% of contributions will go to the work of the changemakers on the ground.
Recently, at the moment of the conclusion of Yom Kippur, after the blow of the shofar, we sang together with joy and spirit Next Year in Jerusalem. Our tradition teaches that as we emerge from the day of fasting, reflection and repentance we also emerge with a refocus on that place which inspires hope and possibility, Jerusalem.
So many of us who care deeply about Israel have borne witness to one of the most intense and fraught periods of the country’s 75 years. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets. While their immediate goal has been protesting a judicial reform that they contend will weaken the checks and balances that are fundamental to democracy, another theme has taken shape—a reclaiming of Zionism, Israeli identity and the values of a Jewish democracy. This new discourse—along with a lot of pain and trauma on all sides that may have previously been sublimated—has manifested across the spectrum of ideological and political points of view.
For the last decade, the Leichtag Foundation has been engaged in grassroots, bottom-up social change work in Jerusalem. We’ve built trusting relationships with hundreds of social entrepreneurs and leaders from all different sectors including Mizrachi Jews, Palestinian Arabs, Ultra Orthodox Jews, Ethiopian Israelis, and many others. While they hold many different identities, they align as Jerusalemites and in their common belief that the city’s diversity is its core creative advantage. With our partners on the ground, and with this belief as our theory of change, we founded the Jerusalem Model seven years ago. The Model now numbers 200+ activists and is recognized to be one of the city’s and the country’s most important leadership incubators and pipelines for civil society as well as for the public sector.
We’ve always known Jerusalem is both a portender and a microcosm. We’ve always seen Jerusalem as the ultimate crack where the light gets in. Over these 10 years, we’ve built experience navigating painful and divisive issues and narratives, building trust, finding aligned identity that can exist alongside other identities and seeking to restore a common narrative. We’ve put some of these tools to work over the last nine months supporting those who are championing a strong, sustained Jewish democracy while we seek to help rebuild social trust.
Pain, hope and activism can balance in tenuous and sometimes heartbreaking ways. Anger can be misdirected or misinterpreted. We are all too accustomed to libeling the person rather than the policy. This has led to fractures that will take time to undo.
What is happening in Israel is unprecedented. Never before in any social movement have hundreds of thousands shown up for 38 straight weeks and counting to reclaim the values inherent to their country’s Declaration of Independence—values of justice, equity and democracy alongside Jewish peoplehood and belief. Israel may be at the precipice but huge numbers of Israelis are stepping up.
Over the last months, we’ve heard from so many of you—those who care about Israel —asking how you can best make a difference in this existential struggle. Every single person who cares about Jewish democracy has a stake and a role. Now is not the time for silence.
More than any other day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur manifests a sense of belonging and reminds us that we have an inextricable collective stake. We repent in community. We are forgiven in community. Our fates are bound together.
In the spirit of Next Year in Jerusalem, the most important thing we can share is that despair is not a strategy. As is always most important in Jewish tradition, constructive action must prevail. We are pleased to share this full resource page of educational tools, funding opportunities and other resources to help you engage. We will continue to update the website and send periodic updates. We’ve highlighted several funding opportunities on this page and have launched the Jewish Democracy in Israel Fund through Impact Cubed. You can designate your contributions through the Fund to any one of the organizations or ask that it be allocated to the greatest need.
In the words of Rabbi Angela Buchdahl of New York’s Central Synagogue in her Rosh Hashana sermon: “The State of Israel is the most important project of the Jewish people of the last 2,000 years. This is not about trying to remake Israel in our American image. This is about helping Israel live up to its own foundational aspirations, as stated in its Declaration of Independence.”
We are sharing ways you can get involved in the struggle for Jewish democracy direct from our relationships and experience in Jerusalem and Israel. On this page you’ll find giving opportunities and ideas, educational tools, advocacy opportunities and more.
And as for the clarion call of Yom Kippur, we state with clarity and focus, now is the time that we lean in to Israel. Now is the time we do not walk away but instead double down on our efforts. Now is the time we share what we’ve learned with our community and offer resources for how to be more involved. We owe it to the Leichtags who witnessed the heavy toll of a world without a Jewish state and rejoiced in its founding. We owe it to the next generations who follow. We owe it to ourselves.
Mobilizes Jerusalemites to come together each Saturday night and at other occasions to make their voices heard. Now the organization is engaged in a variety of outreach and educational efforts in addition to the weekly demonstrations to support a longer term Jerusalem-branded movement upholding strong guiding principles of Jewish democracy.
an umbrella organization funding weekly rallies and demonstrations across Israel, bringing together the member groups and organizations that form the broad alliance which align against judicial overhaul actions without wide consensus.
an organization of women from across sectors including high-tech and entrepreneurship, media, government ministries and local council authorities, as well as self-employed, public workers and others. The network addresses inequality in the job market, empowers women, raises awareness of violence against women, and advocates for legislative solutions, all in the context of the current situation.
comprised of loyal and concerned reserve soldiers and officers from across units, divisions and corps of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) including the highest command units and special forces. They have served, protected, and risked their lives for the sake of a Jewish and democratic State of Israel. The organization takes action to communicate in the strongest possible terms their fear that Israel is at risk of losing its democratic nature.
More Ways to Take Action
Subscribe to news sites like the Times of Israel
Connect with voices directly on the ground in Israel
Find one of the Israeli democracy WhatsApp groups that exist in English
Learn about dozens of organizations addressing the divisions in Israel and upholding democracy here. This list was compiled by a group of funders and is organized in the following categories:
- Protests and Grassroots Initiatives
- Advocacy and Think Tanks
- Change Agents
- Social Trust
- Media and Information
- Watchdog Organizations
- Civic Education
Be the ambassadors for the movement for democracy in Israel—those hundreds of thousands demonstrating each week, civil society leaders and social justice advocates, who care about the future of their country.
Thomas Friedman of The NY Times recently came to tears in a podcast talking about how the government has ambassadors but the hundreds of thousands of Israelis on the street devoting all their resources and making sacrifices for the future of the country need each of us to be their ambassadors.
Tell their stories when you go to dinner with friends.
Post on social media.
Uplift their voices.
Let your rabbis and Jewish organizations you belong to know how much you care about Israel, and how from that position of caring, you are taking a stand for democracy.