ZIKA is about cultivating a vibrant Jewish-Israeli community in a modern urban Israeli town. ZIKA wishes to encourage all citizens of Gan Yavne to be active in an ongoing life journey of cultivating a personal and community identity, based on Jewish wisdom and Israeli culture. ZIKA was created to develop a holistic meaningful Jewish-Israeli life experience in Gan Yavne. ZIKA is committed to the values of Judaism, Zionism and democracy. ZIKA operates through ongoing dialogues and partnerships aimed at creating meaningful connections and building a strong community. ZIKA programs are initiated by coalitions between municipality and residents, Orthodox and secular communities, formal and informal education systems, community center and synagogues, organizations and NGOs. ZIKA serves the population of 22,000 citizens of the town of Gan Yavne. ZIKA serves hundreds of people from neighbor towns, Kibbutzim and Moshavim who join our programs. In the past year we have also served various groups of leaders from Israel (Gvanim groups, Jewish Agency, Israeli community center association, Ort Israel and many others) who came to learn from our experience and copy the models we have created to their towns and communities.
ZIKA in Gan Yavne entered its third year of operation in 2012.
Our programs can be categorized into three main domains:
1. Creating community wide traditions in regards to the Jewish Calendar– in these programs we engaged 480 volunteers (youth and adults) in 10 different teams who planed and coordinated 10 community programs in the Jewish holidays throughout the year (“Glowing Homes Festival” on Hanukkah, “Hag Yeshuv” on Shavuot, The Gan Yavne Purim Musical and others) . The educational planning process leading to each one of the programs lasted at least 2 months of intensive community work. 5000 people will be participating in these programs.
2. Creating the Gan Yavne tradition in regards to the personal life cycle of the town’s citizens: 4 teams of volunteers developed 3 programs (New baby ceremony, the Bat-Bar Mitzvah program of 6th aiming to encourage graduators to join one year volunteering programs before joining the Israeli Army) that engaged 1500 participants.
3. Gan Yavne leadership development training: 3 groups of people were trained during the year in various fields of Communal Jewish leadership. 70 people participated in the training. This training enabled them to create a ripple effect in the community and engage more people in ZIKA programs.
ZIKA’s main success is in:
• Working within the Municipality organization, ZIKA enables a holistic frame of work, involving programs with the formal and non formal education systems, the Community Center and many more agencies in Gan Yavne.
• Most agencies of town look at ZIKA as the town’s coordinator in the fields of Jewish identity and Israeli culture.
• The work calendar of all agencies takes in account the town’s traditions that ZIKA has developed and those traditions are integrated “naturally” into the work plans. This creates an environment that is based on the Jewish calendar, the Jewish life cycle and Jewish values.
• A growing number of agencies in town take ownership of programs that were originally initiated by ZIKA. This is enabled thanks to a growing number of town’s leaders who feel engaged with the ZIKA vision for Gan Yave.
• The culture of coalitions and cooperation between different agencies in town becomes the regular way of working. This creates a stable network that benefits both the leaders and the people of town while strengthening the community immensely.
For more information please turn to: Gan Yavne Municipality