More than eighty high school students from 24 countries gathered virtually this past weekend for the second annual Jewish Youth Assembly, at which students aged 15-to 18-year-old heard from Jewish leaders from around the world and discussed with each other the most pressing issues facing world Jewry.
During his remarks at the Plenary Session of the assembly, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said, “I look to all of you, and I am so proud of your commitment, of your caring, and especially your courage. That is the courage that has kept the Jewish people going, from Joshua to the Maccabees, to the IDF.”
The opening session included remarks by Maram Stern, WJC Executive Vice President, and Daniel Radomski, Head of WJC Strategy and Programs, who both reiterated the importance of engaging young Jewish leaders and inviting them to the table where decisions are made.
Student delegates were then divided into six delegations that met with leading representatives from Jewish communities to learn about challenges and opportunities in various parts of the world. The communities represented included Canada, Chile, Germany, Lithuania, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates.
Following the meetings, students were divided into six committee groups to address some of the challenges facing the Jewish people such as antisemitism and online hate, the importance of preserving the memory of the Holocaust, and Jewish unity. The student delegates then drafted and adopted resolutions addressing these challenges.
The following resolutions were adopted by the 2023 Jewish Youth Assembly:
During the plenary session of the assembly, the delegates had the chance to hear from the Organization of American States Commissioner to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Fernando Lottenberg, who spoke about the importance of young Jews volunteering in their communities, as well as the worrying trend of antisemitism. “Antisemitism cannot be seen as a phenomenon that happens in the vacuum,” said Lottenberg in his address, “it is a symptom of something deeper that has to be analyzed as a threat to democracy and a violation of human rights.”
The delegates also had the chance to hear from Jewish activist, law student, and host of the American-ish podcast Adela Cojab ; President of the European Union of Jewish Students Avital Grinberg ; Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim; and World Union of Jewish Students President Yana Naftalieva.
The Jewish Youth Assembly is an initiative of WJC NextGen, an international community of Jewish youth leaders, empowered through network, resources, and opportunities to create meaningful impact in strengthening global Jewry and fostering our collective future.