They last for three to five consecutive days (unlike the typical Eshkolot programs that take place throughout the week in Moscow) and include text-based moderated workshops and sessions for 75 participants, mostly young well-educated unaffiliated students and professionals from the FSU.
The key element of the Festival of Jewish Texts and Ideas in Jerusalem focused on the city's unique power to induce visions of the future. The first Eshkolot Festival outside the FSU took place in Jerusalem in June 2014. 75-80 carefully selected participants were offered an intensive study program of 4 major elements: textual study workshops (three parallel tracks, 22 hours each), plenary lectures (3 sessions by leading Israeli scholars), city walks based on the studied texts (five 3-hour walks in each track) and evening edutainment programs (music, cuisine, Shabbat etc.).
The program was structured around three parallel thematic tracks:"Eschatology: Jerusalem in Biblical and Apocryphal Texts"; "Mysticism: Solomon's Temple in Jewish and Christian Mysticism"; "Utopia: Jerusalem as a Modern Futuristic Project".
Goals and objectives
- Create the "oasis of Jewish learning" based on text study with a strong focus on community development, social interaction among participants.
- Create and then post Jewish study guides and materials for the Festival.
- Sustain "reading/Jewish study communities" among participants.
- Enhance and strengthen Eshkolot's array of focus groups and activities by participants joining "Eshkolot's think tanks of new ideas and activity" which will be formed throughout and following the program.
- Focus on follow-up programs and activities among and between the participants.