A leadership program for students in years 8 and 9.

“Who is wise? One who learns from all people.”

 – Pirkei Avot, 4:1

Bringing together passionate young Jews from across Sydney, Ofakim aims to equip Jewish teens with the necessary knowledge and tools to stand up for themselves and the Jewish community of today and tomorrow.


The six month program draws upon Jewish and contemporary teachings to support participants in translating leadership concepts to practical skills that can support them in all areas of their lives. By learning how to create social change, educate other kids, and engage in dialogue with those with whom you disagree, while building identity, interpreting Jewish texts and values, and leading t’filla (prayer), this program will allow participants to deeply expand their horizons (ofakim). Graduates of Ofakim will be ready to become leaders and changemakers in the Jewish community and beyond.


Participants gather approximately every three weeks on a Sunday evening for experiential workshops. The program coordinator and madrich (guide) facilitate these workshops to ensure that every bit of theoretical knowledge is matched by practical skills that can be taken into participants’ everyday lives. The workshops cover everything from community organising and social action to Jewish debate and prayer leading. See workshop titles below.

The cohort will attend two overnight seminars (shabbatonim) over the course of the program where they will have a deeper chance to build meaningful connections with other young Jews, expand their social skills, and engage in vibrant learning and debate. The second shabbaton will be almost entirely self-led by participants, allowing them to put all they have learnt into practice by educating each other on social issues they care about.

Participants will graduate the program with a leadership certificate they can add to their resumes. In addition, they will be encouraged to put their developed leadership skills to use in school, extra curricular activities, programs like the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Jewish community.

While not a compulsory component of the program, participants will be offered opportunities to put their skills in action at and around Emanuel Synagogue, including running activities for Kef Kids, volunteering at Synagogue events, chanting Torah or Haftarah on Shabbat, co-leading Emanuel youth services, and more.


Please note schedule is subject to change.

Date Workshop Subject
9 June Priests versus Prophets: What kind of leader are you?
30 June Progressing Judaism: What makes our leadership unique?
26-27 July Shabbaton I: Jewish Identity and Hadrachah

(Overnight seminar at Emanuel)

18 August Navigating Controversy: Debating Israel and Zionism
8 September Progressive Spirituality: Leading and Dissecting Prayer
29 September The Prophetic Vision: Actualising Jewish Values in our Lives
20 October Hadrachah in Practice: Working with Kids and Educating Others
10 November Machloket l’Shem Shamayim: Activism, Argument, and Dialogue
29-31 November Shabbaton II: Changemaking through Tikkun

(Intending to be a weekend seminar away)

15 December Sikkum: Wrapping it all up


$450 per participant for the entire program, except second shabbaton, which comes at an additional cost to be advised closer to the date, based on confirmation of numbers and location.


Applicants must—

  • be in years 8 or 9 at school;
  • identify as Jewish;
  • be accepting of diversity and pluralistic Jewish practices;
  • commit to participation in the entirety of the program.


  1. Apply online here by Wednesday 29 May, 2024
  2. Include a letter of recommendation from a teacher, coach, or someone who can attest to the applicant’s suitability for a leadership program
  3. Participants will find out if their application is successful by the end of May 2024



Contact Young Adult Engagement Coordinator, Avishai Conyer, at avishai@emanuel.org.au with all your questions.