By Elena Zavelev, Diaspora Hangouts
Last month Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua once again called American Jews "partial", as opposed to "real" Israeli Jews. We are facing the challenge with PresenTense project called Diaspora Hangouts - connecting various corners of Jewish world via informal video forums (on the Google Hangout platform).
Diaspora Hangouts branched out from Ticún Brasil, an international Jewish volunteering program in Brazil founded in 2009. It is our belief that the biggest problem facing Jews in US, Brazil and many other centers of diaspora is not anti-Semitism, but assimilation. Ticún Brasil is reversing this trend by linking Jews living in various countries via volunteering together and informal meetings with diaspora leaders, intellectuals and activists of social justice.
Connecting thought leaders via Diaspora Hangouts and direct action with Tikkun Olam projects together as Jews can ultimately straighten diaspora through exchanging best practices from different parts of the Jewish world. Inspiration for Jewish continuity may come from surprising locales. As Brazilian Jewish scholar Bernardo Sorj stated, “Judaic historiography and sociology have been especially sensitive to anti-Semitic phenomena in the numerous societies where Jews live. However, they have shown very little concern in understanding why, in certain societies (i.e. Brazil), anti-Semitism is slight or nearly non-existent.”