Brad Fingard, the State Affairs Coordinator for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti who works to advance the mayor’s legislative priorities; Mahrinah Shije of Albuquerque, a serial entrepreneur who has advised hundreds of startups and is a partner at Zia Impact; and Rabbi Neil Hirsch, the Rabbi of the Hevreh Synagogue in the Southern Berkshires are among the  25 members of the 2021 cohort of Charles Bronfman IPF Atid Conveners, Israel Policy Forum  announced today. This group of young professional leaders will receive training and engage with experts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,  to enable the Conveners to  have more nuanced dialogues on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in their communities and help them become more confident champions of a sustainable two-state solution. 

As with previous cohorts, this year’s Conveners will meet with current and former senior government officials and top policy analysts from the US and the region, as well as American Jewish community leaders. This cohort will meet with Israeli, Palestinian, and American experts and representatives. They will also participate in professional and leadership development workshops. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s summit will take place virtually on October 31 and November 1. 

Upon completion of the program’s signature summit, Conveners will develop their own projects. These initiatives bring the lessons Conveners learned home, building support for a viable two-state solution 

Charles R. Bronfman, Israel Policy Forum Board member, explains how this program started: “A few years ago, Israel Policy Forum honored me by creating this program for bright young leaders who have a real desire to improve their knowledge of Israel and the Middle East. I am proud of the work that IPF Atid has accomplished through this program. I commend this new cohort of next generation leaders for their commitment to advancing a two-state solution for the safety and security for Israel and the Jewish people.”

This year’s Charles Bronfman Conveners were selected via a rigorous application process and are a diverse group of entrepreneurs, lawyers, writers, Jewish communal leaders, and policy professionals. Many have strong connections with major North American Jewish community institutions, including the American Jewish Committee, Hillel, Jewish Community Relations Councils, and Jewish Federations of North America. Our new Conveners include. Brief bios of all the Conveners are below.

“This year’s Conveners program comes at a critical moment in our work,” noted Sharon Hakakian Bergman, a 2019 Convener who is also an Israel Policy Forum board member and Chair of the IPF Atid Board Committee. “New leadership in Washington and Jerusalem comes with new opportunities to enact policies on the ground that foster an environment that is more conducive to a two-solution. In an era of increasingly polarized discourse on Israel, the need for nuanced, policy-based conversations on the conflict in North American Jewish spaces has never been greater. The Charles Bronfman Conveners program serves as a primary vehicle by which IPF Atid promotes engagement with our issue in the wider community, while elevating emerging leaders.”

Now in its fourth year, the IPF Atid Charles Bronfman Conveners program empowers emerging Jewish community and policy leaders by equipping them with the resources to advance Israel Policy Forum’s vision of a Jewish, democratic, and secure Israel. IPF Atid, the young professionals network of Israel Policy Forum, has chapters in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston.