“For as long as we can remember, in school, in courses, in the army and even in informal settings, whenever orthodox people, Middot, Mitzvot or Emunah were being discussed for good or for bad, the topic was always fused with much pent-up emotion.” – Fazit Biran, lieutenant in the IDF
This is an all too common occurrence among Jews in Israel. The lack of understanding between Jews with different backgrounds, levels of observance and political views divides and weakens us. But we can do something to bring back strength and unity. We can provide a space for open dialogue and respectful interaction. A space in which we can learn and grow from one another, rather than continue to split off into factions. With your help, we can bridge our differences with our commonalities, so that we can be one united Jewish people now and for future generations.
The One Jewish People Project brings together Jews in Israel across the entire span of Jewish expression in a show of strength and friendship. The goal of the project is to actualize the much spoken about desire and need for more unity among Jews in Israel through experiential activities that produce more consideration, tolerance, respect and integrity of one Jew for another. Throughout the Jewish community, acts of kindness, charity and brotherly love, are encouraged and publicized in an effort to demonstrate the timeless unity of the Jewish nation. Participants from across the political and religious spectrum have put aside their personal views to demonstrate that the ties that bind us are stronger than our differences.
Seven years ago we began our special unity projects. Since then we have impacted the lives of thousands of people. From weekly dialogue groups and pre-military academies, to girl scouts meetings and large scale events in which secular youth and religious Jews exchanged open dialogue in two major Kikar Rabin events. We have held an annual four day trip to a Kibbutz in the south and held movements with 1,200 high school students to ensure that the secular and the religious will not be enemies! And there is so much more to come!
Thus far we have teamed up with leading organizations such as PTACH, Ezer Mizion, Yad Sarah, IDFWO and more. The demand for our program is incredibly high and continues to grow despite not doing any form of marketing whatsoever! Why? Because this project is an incredibly unique and desired experience by many Israelis. The desire to connect and understand those who are different from them, but who can so easily embrace these differences and become one family. Help us bring these dialogue groups to everyone who has the desire to connect.
How You Will Help
This world is constantly dividing into groups of “other”. As a result, we become more lonely and less driven to pursue our full potentials as individuals and as members of the Jewish nation. But you can help bring us out of this isolation. Your support will unite us to our brothers and sisters, no matter where they are from, where they stand politically, or their level of Jewish observance. We are connected, and we must harness this connection to spread love and acceptance. In the end, isn’t that what we are all after?
- You will promote unity among Israelis which will promote strength, health and happiness for all of Israel.
- You will help educate the impressionable youth of today so that we may have a more tolerant and united Jewish people of tomorrow.
- You will bring Jews together from all Israel, across all spectrums and walks of life.
- You provide hope and encourage people to pursue their best selves, continuing to spread kindness and respect everywhere they go.
- Support our special unity projects including:
- A special event for the widows and orphans of fallen IDF soldiers
- A lone soldier project offered to those who leave their home country to protect us in Israel. This includes many soldiers who have made aliyah from the USA.
- A dialogue project bringing Jews together from across the political and religious spectrum to find common ground and foster the ties that bind us as a people.
- You will help spread awareness of our mission which will have a domino effect on Jewish communities around the world.
Who We Are
Moshe Kaplan, M.D., is the Strategic Advisor of the One Jewish People Project. He is a trained psychoimmunologist, using mind, body and soul integration to achieve optimal health and well being. He was All-American lacrosse player and Major decorated for valor in the US military. Professionally he was co-founder of Wellness Medical Clinics which applied wellness concepts to practical reality and co-author of a curriculum used in medical schools as model for an ideal health care delivery system. In 1986 he relocated to Israel where he serves as a Medical Director of Magen David Adom ,and has compiled 2 books, “A Wholly Life” Targum Press 2005 and “Be A Mensch” Gefen Publishing 2009 in English. In 2010, he founded the “Be A Mensch” Organization, an educational program to upgrade the basic values in Israeli society with the book being published in Hebrew by Yediot Achronoth Group. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Karen.
We received the award below from Jerusalem municipality for our work with youth organizations in Jerusalem:
We have received incredible letters of thanks for the courses, workshops, and meetings we have organized and implemented thus far. These are a selection of quotes from those letters:
“The connections that have been created continue for many years.
It is as if one heart beats within us!
The significance of the meetings is immeasurably important.
It influences the shaping of the identity of the participants who will grow up to be leaders in Israeli
society and will influence the entire Jewish people…..
We will be happy to increase greatly the number of groups throughout the country! “ –Letter from “The Boy/Girl Scouts of Israel”
“[Your program] opened up our eyes to the religious lifestyle, which is closed and almost foreign to us. We would also like to thank you for the joint discussion framework that was held for the young generation from both sides. This framework proves that a common language, which is so very essential to the Jewish- Israeli communication, does in fact exist.” –Tzippy Zava and the Beth Midrash for Youth Organization
“Finally, this movement has brought Halacha L’Maaseh (as was said in the course) a practical opening that allowed for real discussion to take place, one that can bring us to some kind of a compromise. In my opinion, this activity should be considered obligatory for all youth and soldiers in the army.” –Fazit Biran – lieutenant in the IDF
“It is so rare nowadays to find people willing to work for the promotion of understanding between the secular & ultra-Orthodox. It came as a surprise to us, alumni and myself, to see how the orthodox youth wanted to talk to us, not out of the wish to convince, but rather to explain. We were surprised to discover the “Adam” (human being) which is inside every one of them.” –Movement Haolim
“We, at the HaShomer HaTzair movement, hold many meetings with different youth movements, such as Bnei Akiva, the learning and working youth, the Israeli-Arab movement, and even with Palestinian youth. Being a student and counselor myself in HaShomer HaTzair for many years, I did not believe it was possible to communicate with the orthodox community. This sector always seemed so foreign to us, which is the reason I developed feelings of anger and wonder at these people. I had so many questions, which were left up in the air because there was no one who was able to answer them satisfactorily. I remember when we first sat down to talk, how our eyes explored each other, we were dressed so very differently, but we both had curiosity burning within us … Time passed quickly … The session was meaningful and interesting … It was amazing intriguing and significant, I began to sympathize with some of the many things I disliked before the meetings and I it made me so happy…. I really hope to continue to meet and create a way of learning and working together..Many, many thanks.” –Yael Zilberstein in Ken Gonen-Eliav, Jerusalem
“The series of meetings were unique and exciting, we got to know each other’s world … The meetings were real, profoundly personal connections and each time we discovered new common ground to overcome our differences. It is an experience that has enriched our world and our hearts…We want to express our gratitude and appreciation…We hope that this is just the beginning of beautiful friendships…”–Student Association – Beit Berl
“Finally we have a movement that leads to genuine dialogue…I have found the meetings very significant and this has changed the way I look on Haredi men…I think this activity should be mandatory for youth and soldiers in the army.” –IDF Southern Region
“The meeting was characterized by openness and a willingness to listen…We see this as just the beginning of a much larger process… In order to continue the dialogue, we need all the soldiers and members of the county as part of this important project.” –Youth and Nahal IDF Jerusalem District
“I would like to thank you for the welcome initiative of conducting meetings between secular and ultra-Orthodox students. The fact that the meetings were held in a free and pleasant atmosphere and in small groups, allowed intimate exposure and quality conversations with each other. The students opened a window to different worlds and engaged each other and everything in moderation and affairs…I hope such meetings will continue and will allow expansion of the circles of acquaintance between residents.” –Middle School of the Hebrew University
As humans, we know that we cannot always agree on everything. As Jews, we are especially familiar with arguing. This should not be a source of shame or guilt. In fact, the best way to expand your mind is to be challenged. It is in the root of our religion to ask questions. It is essential that we keep the dialogue open for these questions. To challenge one another no matter how different our answers may be. In this way, we learn to respect one another, and care for one another in ways that will have everlasting effects from generation to generation.