Yoav is Director of Kivun – Organizational Training and Development in Jerusalem. The Kivun (“direction”) Institute conducts organizational programs for the advancement of human dignity in government ministries, and in schools, hospitals, and businesses throughout Israel and abroad. Yoav, originally a New Yorker, was the Central Emissary to the Reform Movement and served as National Director of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel. During the height of the intifada bombings in Jerusalem, Yoav was on staff at the Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma.

Yoav has lived in Israel since 1972, is a reserve officer in the IDF, and served in the first Lebanon war. He has been active in the Israeli peace movement for the past thirty years. A kibbutz member for his first years in Israel, Yoav now resides in Jerusalem with his family and is a member of the Reform congregation, Kol Haneshama.


Breaking the blockade: Where do we stand about Israel and what can we do?
Diaspora Jews live with awareness of Israel. Some wax emotional with every news report or editorial while others seek refuge from perplexing questions through denial. Israel remains the stage on which the drama of a Jewish-run country is played out daily, and Jews everywhere are forced to define where they stand.

In this two-hour workshop, Yoav Peck, a veteran Israeli, will open with a review of significant Israel-events in the weeks leading up to Limmud, tying the current affairs to broader Israel issues. Participants will then break into discussion groups led by local facilitators. They will have the opportunity to speak their minds, to listen to a range of positions, and to seek a common message. The workshop will end with brief presentations from each of the discussion groups and concluding remarks by Mr. Peck. Discussion leaders will be prepared to conduct open, orderly discussions in which every participant’s right to express an opinion will be respected. The result will be a dignified, free, and creative group experience from which participants will emerge with crystallized positions and fresh questions.

Can we walk our talk? – An Israeli inquiry linking the universal value of human dignity and Jewish tradition
Within Israeli society, deep rifts divide people: new immigrants and old-timers, religious and secular Jews, Israelis and Palestinians, rich and poor, men and women. We face general unease in our relations with overseas communities, among Israelis there is general dissatisfaction with our national leadership, and verbal and physical violence have become a common occurrence.  At the same time, we remain a vibrant and spirited people, driven by deep love for our land and a variety of visions for our future.

What can be done to renew the unity and camaraderie that once characterized us? What has become of the core values on which the State of Israel was founded? In what ways can Jewish tradition enhance our quest for the Israel of our dreams? And how can Diaspora communities participate actively in the quest for workable solutions?

In this workshop, we will explore the above questions, blending Israeli, Jewish, and sociological perspectives. The opening presentation will provide background and a structure that will guide an inquiry into the possibilities for meeting Israel’s current social challenges. Participants will be welcomed into a common “think-tank” for revealing approaches and tools that address current Israeli concerns while perhaps shedding light on wider dilemmas facing the Diaspora communities.

Advancing the value of human dignity in Jewish schools: a workshop/presentation for educators
How do dignity and humiliation appear in the daily lives of our schools? In the course of a school’s routine, how can we cultivate the expression of consideration and empathy? Why must teachers develop “elephant skin” in order to withstand banal insults they receive from colleagues and students? How can Jewish sources and tradition enhance organizational efforts to create and maintain a school climate that fosters mutual respect? 

In this presentation/workshop, we will address the central question: How does a systemic intervention, focused on the value of human dignity, lead to significant change in a Jewish school? My approach integrates organizational development with an inquiry into dignity and humiliation as they are expressed in the organizational setting.
On the basis of 15 years’ experience in projects for the improvement of school climate, I will explore the Jewish and universal value of human dignity and its significance in enabling educators to “walk their talk” as they advance the values-education of their students.

I will present the concepts, model of intervention, and tools we employ in our school projects. In order to offer an experiential “taste” of our work, I’ll also lead participants in one of the group exercises that we use with our client-schools.