On May 25, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs honoured Chief Dr. Robert Joseph (holding the sculpture) with the Victor Goldbloom Award for Outstanding Interfaith Leadership. (photo from CIJA)
On May 25, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs honoured Chief Dr. Robert Joseph with the Victor Goldbloom Award for Outstanding Interfaith Leadership.
In memory of the late Dr. Victor Goldbloom, the Victor Goldbloom Award recognizes the contributions of leaders from various faith communities in advancing interfaith relations.
Joseph is a hereditary chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation and the founder and current ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, an Indigenous organization dedicated to dialogue with multifaith and multicultural communities. He is also the former executive director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and a member of the National Assembly of First Nation Elders Council. As a result of his work, he has received numerous awards and recognition for bringing people of different faiths together.
Joseph is a dear friend to the Jewish community who has worked with Robbie Waisman, a Holocaust survivor, to make connections between survivors of the Holocaust and the residential schools.
On May 26, representatives from the Sikh, Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Ismaili, Muslim, Ahmadiyya, Ukrainian Catholic, Anglican, Baha’i and Black-Canadian communities, as well as Indigenous leaders, joined to celebrate Chief Joseph’s lifetime of work serving British Columbia, urging people of all faiths toward truth and reconciliation, and renewing relationships between Indigenous people and all Canadians.
The Maccabiah Games take place every four years in Israel, and the 21st Maccabiah will take place July 12-26, with some 10,000 athletes from 80 countries competing in more than 40 sports. Seven King David High School students were selected to play in a variety of sports and faculty member Matt Dichter is the coach for a basketball team. KDHS is so proud and wishes them all a successful time in Israel!
On May 31, Birthright Israel Excel selected 60 college students worldwide for its fellowship in business and technology, which began on June 7 and runs in Israel for 10 weeks. Forty participants are from the United States, while 20 come from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, France, Mexico, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom. Thirteen of them will be visiting Israel for the first time.
One of the participants is University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business student Zac Abelson, 21, who is majoring in commerce, with a double minor in operations and logistics, and entrepreneurship. He will be doing his internship with Deloitte.
Since 2011, the Birthright Israel Excel Fellowship has selected top students from hundreds of applicants for summer internships with leading business and tech companies in Tel Aviv. This year’s cohort features an equal number of women and men and the most first-time visitors to Israel. Their internships will be in such areas as environmental sustainability, software development, consulting, finance, venture capital, engineering, marketing, cybertech, biotech, business development and startup development. Students will intern each Israeli workweek, Sunday through Thursday, and attend an evening series of speakers from across Israeli society.
A core component is the one-on-one pairing between each Excel fellow and an Israeli, enabling the foreigners to acclimate quickly to the local culture and see the country through a more authentic lens than as typical tourists. Many peer-to-peer relationships grow into long-term friendships. Some have invested in each other’s business ventures.
Birthright Israel Excel fellows enjoy free time to explore Israel with their peers, and three weekend trips as a group bring them throughout the country: the north, typically including the Golan Heights, a winery tour and a rafting trip down the Jordan River; Jerusalem, including the Western Wall and the Machane Yehuda outdoor market; and the south, for a desert trek, a mud bath in the Dead Sea and a sunrise hike on Masada.
After their return home, the Excel fellows enter a network that provides resources for professional and personal development, Israel engagement and encouraging them as philanthropists.
Birthright Israel Excel fellows have gone on to positions at companies such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Bain & Company and Google. Others have developed strategic partnerships with Israeli companies and started their own companies, often hiring other fellows.