For the last two days, Blake has been privileged to photograph the inaugural conference of Reshet, a newly established network for Jewish youth provision in the UK. Headed up by incredible Executive Director, Shelley Marsh, Reshet may be a unit operating within the Jewish community, but it asks a much more universal question: In a world of countless digital distractions, ever-growing materialism, the internet redefining our relationships with each other and our communities, and the Kardashians… how do we ensure that teenagers retain a strong identity, and are actively engaged in their heritage and the future of their communities?
Many incredible people came together, firstly at the Baden Powell Conference Centre in Kensington, and then the artsdepot in north London, to discuss and debate these issues – including teenagers, community leaders, youth-workers and researchers from across numerous different countries.
Attendees were treated to talks by two compelling yet completely different keynote speakers. The first was David Bryfman, Director of the New Center for Collaborative Leadership at The Jewish Education Project, whose blend of research, analysis, unique perspectives and frank humour were fascinating and entertaining. The second was Scott Fried, a mind-blowingly powerful speaker who invites us to reassess the way we interact with each other. Indeed his biography on twitter simply states “I teach kindness” – we couldn’t muster a more accurate and succinct description than that. There were many other interesting sessions on everything from how technology has transformed the way teenagers live their lives, to the ever-changing challenges faced when educating about the Jewish world and Israel.
Congratulations to Shelley and Sam, as well as the Chairpeople Hannah and Anthony, on curating a thoughtful, groundbreaking, and insightful conference, we were thrilled to be involved. Here are a few of our favourite images…