About the Heschel Center

Who we are

The Heschel Center is Israel's leading advocate for a sustainable Israel: a just society with a robust democratic economy and a healthy environment, now and for future generations. Founded 18 years ago, we are based in Tel Aviv, and have a national reach and presence, with over 300 Leadership alumni, partnerships with over twenty municipalities in our Center for Local Sustainability, and hundreds of participants in our transformative learning programs through the Center for Sustainability Studies.

Poisoned air, climate disruption, growing gaps between rich and poor, isolation and discrimination against the other, despair and violence, are all examples of how unsustainable policies and practices are rife and deeply imbedded in Israeli society. Our vision is to create the transformative learning, meaningful connections and creative solutions necessary for the move toward a healthy world, where people and planet flourish with dignity.

The twin challenges of climate change and social justice lie at the heart of the human agenda in this century. The Heschel Center provides the inspiration and ideas while building collaborative platforms to empower effective leadership for transition to a sustainable Israeli society that can rise to those challenges.

What we do

Through creating a home for leaders and developing and disseminating ideas and skills, the Heschel Center:

  • Creates frameworks through which potential change agents can become sustainability leaders, and support the implementation of their initiatives.

  • Connects theoretical knowledge with practical skills, and spreads the vision of broad sustainability in creative ways.

Heschel's flagship initiative, The Sustainability Leaders Fellows Program, now launching its 17th cohort of 21 new Fellows, continues to be the leading training program for social-environmental leaders in Israel. With nearly 300 alumni, the Fellowship represents leadership in diversity. The program targets potential change makers in positions of influence – business, politics (including several MKs), media, free professions, social change; Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews, center and periphery—providing them an in-depth learning process along with the tools to develop joint projects that have a real and lasting impact. The successful alumni network implements our vision of promoting sustainability through a widening interlinked community, whose work we catalyze and nurture

The Center for Local Sustainability works directly with municipalities, regional councils, and their leadership and professional staffs in national and local training programs tailor made for their realities and needs (over 500 participants this year), and has created 20 Local Sustainability Centers in the social and geographic periphery of Israel.

The Center for Sustainability Studies provides intensive transformative learning courses for leaders, professionals and change agents from all over Israel, currently including: Strategic Local Planning for Sustainability, Community- Based Sustainable Education, a Regional Fellows program in Ramat Hanadiv, and tailor-made programs for different organizations and insititutions such as the Israeli Scouts, Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and the Society of Nature Protection in Israel. 

Where we've been:

We have trained hundreds of entrepreneurial leaders and created effective networks of change agents amongst all Israelis (Jews and Arabs, secular and religious, center and periphery) in a broad range of fields. We have incubated and launched dozens of innovative social ventures in areas as diverse as renewable energy, local sustainability, and environmental justice.

After a period of challenge and transition, Heschel 2016 has an inspired new leadership, and an energetic staff made up of some of our veteran visionaries, along with new blood, who come with innovative skills and ideas to take the organization forward, and ensure our place as the premier institution promoting a broad based social, environmental and economic vision for Israel.

Where we're going:

We seek to create alliances and financial support, both inside Israel and abroad, to put this vision of sustainability which we believe is the key to Israel's future, squarely on the agenda of Israeli society and the Jewish people. 

Sustainability represents the call for the "triple bottom line" of profits, people, and planet, which has been adopted in the realm of corporate social responsibility (CSR) worldwide. For too long, the environment has been a narrowly-defined niche issue, and the focus of much work has been reactive and confrontational in nature. We represent a broad, proactive agenda, integrating economic, political and social change, and training and partnering with key players in all those realms. 

While there are any number of organizations in Israel devoted to advancing specific aspects of sustainability—environmental NGOs, social change organizations, economic institutions—only Heschel is doing the big-picture conceptualization of what defines sustainability in Israel and how to achieve it.

The Heschel Center is a registered non-profit ("amuta") that depends on contributions to do the work that is so critical for Israel's future. To donate click here.

Join us to help improve Israel's present and ensure Israel's future as a healthy, prosperous, just and democratic society for all.

The Heschel Center

The Heschel Center for Sustainability works to promote a sustainable Israel: a just and cohesive society, a robust and democratic economy, and a healthy and productive environment for all its residents, now and in the future.