Kedma believes in fostering leadership through volunteering. The Kedma Cohort is one of Kedma’s most innovative programs: Kedma works with a group of young women who are studying in gap year programs in Israel and is training them to think about volunteering strategically. The Cohort assigns goals for the year, considering which sectors of Israeli society could benefit from Cohort programming and which programs would best achieve their goals. The Cohort members have the opportunity to take on leadership responsibilities such as sitting on planning committees, facilitating sessions, and leading activities.

During the pandemic, the Cohort experienced first hand the strategic challenges of being Jewish communal leaders. Cohort members have had to account for Corona concerns and how to ensure the safety of all participants by thinking strategically about their programs and problem solving.

Past Cohort events have included packing and distributing food to Jerusalem’s homeless, visiting Girls’ Town Jerusalem and meeting Bnot Menashe who recently emigrated to Israel, programs with the elderly, volunteering at Leket Israel and hearing from Leket’s founder and chairman, Joseph Gitler, and celebrating holidays with developmentally disabed young adults. The Cohort’s closing event for 2022-23 is hosting a mother-daughter evening for women and girls from at-risk homes. By promoting leadership through volunteering in all sectors of Israeli society, we nurture these students to become future leaders who will make a difference in their communities.