At the Reut Institute, every impending project is undertaken with the same initial premise: How can this benefit the Jewish community? The Tel Aviv-based group connects Israelis and Jews of the diaspora, not just by bringing the two groups together, but by giving them common goals as well. Whether Reut’s teams are focusing on national security or global affairs, the ultimate aim of the organization isn’t only to gather and research information, but to get that information to those able to initiate change.
As Reut’s external relations coordinator Yael Phillips puts it, how can a community affect change if it doesn’t know what the issues are?
“By identifying a problem you get people behind it,” she said. “We identify gaps between people’s perceptions and the changing reality. We have a long term perspective, identifying the challenges, strategic surprises and opportunities of the future.”
That perspective covers a broad scope. Founded in 2004, the institute is built of teams that identify, research and then distribute information on rising trends and issues in the Jewish community. This can mean anything from exploring how to make Israel more sustainably competitive to looking at the complex challenges of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“One of the papers we've recently published looks at the relationship between Israel and the Jewish world,” Phillips said. “Israelis living in the diaspora present a new and emerging opportunity to strengthen Jewish peoplehood.”
Information like this is certainly important, but the buck doesn’t stop there. Reut works with Jewish organizations around the world, like Hillel, the UJA and more, to disseminate its findings in ways that can make a real difference. By getting the right material into the best hands, Reut ensures its work goes on to influence and shape the community it’s reaching out to.
"We're partnering with AJC ACCESS for the 20/20 Weekend in DC in May for the second year in a row,” Phillips said. “The event is all about empowering young Jewish leaders and strengthening a global network to fight against the assault on Israel’s legitimacy."
Through connecting Israelis and the diaspora with the information and tools it needs, the Reut Institute is generating not only a well-informed Jewish community, but a more thoughtful one, as well.
“We’re focused on fostering a Jewish and Israeli imprint on the world, not just an Israeli imprint,” Phillips said. “Reut has recently published an overview of what 21st century tikkun olam should look like and how Israelis and Jews can make a lasting imprint on the world, based on the Jewish ethical imperative of tikkun olam."
For more information on the Reut Institute, visit www.reut-institute.org.
.ORG-Connection: The Reut Institute is a non-partisan and non-profit organization, designed to be the most effective force of change in Israel and the Jewish world. Reut's vision is of 21st Century Zionism – that of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in a secure, prosperous, and democratic state of Israel.