A new partnership could revolutionize Diaspora Jewry's connection with Israel, utilizing an ancient, secret weapon: Jewish mothers.
The Jewish Women's Renaissance Project (JWRP) has already brought some 7,000 mothers to Israel since 2009, with participants hailing from every corner of the Jewish world and spanning a wide variety of backgrounds.
Last week, JWRP revealed a new partnership with Israel's Ministry for Diaspora Affairs, which has pledged to help them bring a further 5,600 Jewish women from 24 different countries to Israel over the next two years.
"If you inspire the mother of a Jewish family you inspire the whole family," said JWRP's CEO Ben Perry, explaining the organization's basic philosophy.
JWRP Founding Director Lori Palatnik – an Orthodox Jewish outreach educator, blogger, author, and motivational speaker – summed it up more emphatically: "Communities really live and die where the women are at."
While organizations such as Birthright have brought tens of thousands of young Jews to Israel, Palatnik noted that focusing on mothers with families was particularly important – and even more effective in nurturing strong links between the Jewish Diaspora and Israel.
"If we can ignite tens of thousands of Jewish women across the world, we can ignite communities and we can create a movement," she added.
"We want them to fall in love with Israel, and we want them to bring that love and support for Israel back to their homes. we want them to connect to their Jewish values and their Jewish heritage, and we want them to take responsibility in their communities."