"Building Bridges for the Future"
What is Building Bridges for the Future?

On the initiative of Elke Büdenbender, judge and wife of the German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and former Federal Minister Brigitte Zypries, the Future Forum has launched the Building Bridges for the Future program, which we are implementing together with the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem, the Federal Foreign Office, and the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts.

Building Bridges for the Future
 contributes to the importance of the skilled crafts sector through an exchange program for young Israeli and German trainees and craftspeople. As part of our exchange program, the participants, who come from different trades, share their expertise, and gain professional experience together. The starting project is the renovation of the Leo Baeck Institute in Jerusalem. The premises of the renowned research institute are to be made barrier-free and climate-neutral. Our participants can take part in this renovation. In addition to working together on site, our participants in Israel and Germany gain intercultural experience by immersing themselves in the other society and culture.

The long-term goal of Building Bridges for the Future is to create sustainable structures for a German Israeli exchange in the fields of crafts and construction that will enrich the bilateral relations between our two countries. In doing so, we not only want to support the skilled crafts as an important pillar of our two societies, but also enrich Israeli German relations.

Launch of the project in May 2023

The project was officially launched in Jerusalem in May 2023 in the presence of Michal Herzog, lawyer and wife of Israeli President Isaac Herzog, and our Board of Trustees, chaired by former Federal Minister Brigitte Zypries. Other renowned guests were our Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees Yair Hamburger, Prof. Dr. Menachem Ben-Sasson, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ute Frevert, Dr. Yael Hadass, former Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff, Gadeer Kamal Mreeh, Minister of State Dr. Tobias Lindner, Dr. Esther Lopatin, Dr. h.c. mult. Christoph Markschies, Ambassador of the State of Israel to Germany H. E. Ron Prosor, Dr. Dr. Hermann Simon, and Dr. Thomas Sparr, as well as Anna Bartels, Dr. Irene Aue-Ben-David and Prof. Dr. Galili Shahar. On the festive event, First Lady Michal Herzog gave a speech and emphasized:

“The commitment to harnessing our collective creativity to advance the values we share and improve life is just what the Future Forum embodies and promotes and enables in practice... I can share with you that on our very early morning walks in Jerusalem, the president and I had a chance for a sneak peek to the Leo Baeck Institute. It looks like great things can come out of this project and we're waiting for the invitation for the day after.”

It was also a great pleasure for us to welcome Richard Reichenbach to Jerusalem. We are delighted that trainees like Richard Reichenbach and Michelle Schulz were involved in the conception of the project.

What happens next?

We are currently in the planning phase and are looking forward to the first trainees from Israel traveling to Germany soon to gain their first professional experience abroad.