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Maccabi GB participants attend the Future Leaders Forum Seminar in Amsterdam

On Thursday 9th March five Maccabi GB staff and participants embarked on a four-day trip to Amsterdam for Maccabi Europe’s Future Leaders Forum (FLF) Seminar. FLF is a leadership development programme that brings together young Jewish leaders from across Europe to develop their leadership skills and build a strong Maccabi network. The programme consists of a series of workshops, discussions, and experiential learning activities that cover a wide range of topics, including leadership styles, communication and teamwork. Participants also have the opportunity to hear from inspiring speakers and mentors who share their own experiences and insights into leadership. Through the Future Leaders Forum, Maccabi Europe aims to empower the next generation of Jewish leaders and create a positive impact in their communities.

Maccabi GB’s Leadership programme ‘Leadership by Streetwise’ is managed by Alex Pereira who represented the organisation at the FLF seminar, bridging the gap between the two leadership programmes. “Future Leaders Forum has been an amazing experience that I will never forget; connecting with so many Jewish people from all over the world is such a special thing,” said Alex. “Being able to listen to the amazing work that they do but also some of the challenges they face has been very inspiring and eye-opening to me as it really highlights how lucky I am to work for Maccabi GB and have such amazing people around me. I hope to continue to work with the other Future Leaders Forum members not only to share ideas but also to create partnerships that will last forever.”

Ethan Myers was one of the Maccabi GB participants present on the seminar. Ethan has been involved with Maccabi GB since competing in the JCC Maccabi Games in 2018 and subsequently joined the Leadership by Streetwise programme, graduating in 2021 and joining the Tzevet team shortly afterwards. “I had the most amazing experience at Future Leaders Forum in Amsterdam, learning about other Maccabi delegations, the challenges they face and activities they offer,” said Ethan reflecting on the weekend. “Each delegation offers something so unique despite their shared ideals and listening to each other has allowed every country to improve what they can offer. My favourite part of the weekend was our first evening, where we had a talk with the head of Maccabi Germany about discrimination in sport and how we can tackle it, followed by a karaoke night with all participants.”

Having previously worked at Alyth Synagogue as a Youth Educator and a speaker for Generation 2 Generation, the newest staff member at Maccabi GB, Ella Garai-Ebner wanted to expand her skills and experience at the Future Leaders Forum. “My favourite part of the FLF was the Shabbat dinner at Rabbi Yanki Jacob’s house, when everyone was singing Hebrew songs together, such as Hinei Ma Tov and Oseh Shalom,” said Ella. “It was incredible and moving that all these people from different countries, upbringings and Jewish experiences could unite and sing the same tunes all together. Having the opportunity on Future Leaders Forum to meet, talk to and learn from and with young adults from across Europe, and all with such varied Maccabi experiences, was truly eye-opening and memorable. It was an amazing weekend.”

Brandon Myers participated at both the European Maccabi Games and the Maccabiah Games, he is also a part of the Tzevet team on the Leadership programme and facilitates Streetwise sessions in schools. “I just had a fantastic experience at the FLF seminar in Amsterdam,” said Brandon. “It was a truly insightful weekend, learning about the work of other Maccabi delegations and the significant challenges they also face. It was also brilliant to hear from some amazing speakers, from the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands, to the Chairman of Maccabi Germany. Following this weekend, I feel inspired to continue the work I am doing with Maccabi GB, and hopefully inspire many more people to join this journey.”

In January, Adam Taylor competed at the Maccabi Winter Games in Germany earlier this year, winning gold for Team GB in snowboarding. Following the Games, he was keen to continue his journey and the Future Leaders Forum programme is there to aid that development. “Future Leaders Forum felt more like a week than a weekend,” said Adam. We fitted so much learning into such a brief period and are all better off for it. We left feeling inspired about how to keep building and growing Maccabi as leaders in the community. I am grateful to have been part of this intensive, meaningful experience.”

The seminar featured a whole host of educational and team building activities that showcased Maccabi life and inspired each participant. Thursday opened with a session on the history of Maccabi leaders from Rabbi Carlos Tapiero, Maccabi World Union’s Deputy CEO, followed by getting to know all the participants and hearing about their involvement in Maccabi. Participants were then treated to a fascinating talk from Alon Meyer, the chairman of Maccabi Germany; they heard about the history of Maccabi Germany and discussed the power of sports in connecting and engaging people.

On Friday morning, our participants had a session about what leadership is, what it means to them, the differences between authority and leadership and how they can use this to embrace positive change. They then heard from the Israeli Ambassador for the Netherlands Modi Ephraim. The participants then got the unique experience of taking a boat trip around Amsterdam's canals in the snow. In the afternoon they heard from Naomi Mestrum, Director of the Centre for Information, and documentation of Israel in Holland, about their work tackling antisemitism.

The participants had a lovely Shabbat in Amsterdam, starting with dinner Friday night at Rabbi Yanki Jacob’s house, where they enjoyed eating and singing together. They discussed aspirations and goals for Maccabi in their own countries and learnt from everyone how Maccabi runs in different countries. They finished Shabbat with a lovely Havdallah together, complete with Israeli dancing.

On their final day they learnt about the different projects of Maccabi Netherlands and the important work of Maccabi Europe in supporting Ukrainian refugees. The forum concluded by hearing from David Beesemer, the Chairman of Maccabi Europe, and Amir Gissin, CEO of Maccabi World Union discussing the exciting and interesting plans for the future.

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