This article was first published as “Young Bay Area Zionists flex their diversity at Florida conference” in JWeekly.
Last month, 130 Jewish college students and young professionals from throughout North America staged a mock Zionist Congress in Miami Beach. And like at all Zionist Congresses, dating back to the first one presided over in 1897 by Theodor Herzl in Switzerland, attendees voiced a wide range of perspectives and opinions on the Jewish state.
Turns out young Zionists are not all cut from the same cloth.
“I thought it would be all right-wing, but it wasn’t,” Oren Gotesman, a junior at U.C. Santa Cruz, said of the Young Zionist Leadership Conference, held Jan. 20 to 22 in Florida. “What impressed me the most was how open people were to hearing one another … It was really about expressing yourself.”
Gotesman, 20, was one of at least 10 Bay Area students that attended the conference, which was run by the World Zionist Organization and included Zionist programming, leadership training and professional development. There was also educational programming about Israel’s culture, politics and history.
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© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.