Shlomit Schlesinger

Shlomit was born in 1989 and grew up in the religious West Bank town of Alon Shvut. During her army service she served as a commander in the IDF’s Education Corps, in a program working to mainstream Israeli youths from disadvantaged backgrounds. During these years and in response to the relatively closed educational and social frameworks in which she had grown up, Shlomit developed a thirst for a more open and pluralistic approach that would make room for political and religious complexity. She searched for platforms that would bring her into contact with people very different from her. This path eventually led her to take upon herself the position of creating and directing a summer camp for Israeli and Palestinian children, in the framework of the newly founded Roots movement.

Meeting the Palestinian kids and counselors and hearing the narrative that the brought with them, shook her to the core. She learned to accept that there is a legitimate truth on the other side, and found herself to be a changed person, able to see and to identify with multiple truths. She became convinced that stereotypes and prejudices towards the “other” can be corrected, and the primary means to doing so is direct personal contact. Shlomit continues to work with Roots during the summers. In addition, she has worked for Women Waging Peace and currently serves as team director for Bishvil, an educational organization that works with a wide range of people from the Israeli mosaic, including Arab residents of East Jerusalem. In this framework, she puts forward her philosophy of listening to conflicting opinions and cultures, and makes sure to provide the program’s counselors and clients with the dialogical complexity that was missing in her own childhood.

Shlomit currently lives in Tel Aviv, and is studying for a Master’s degree in Public Policy. Previously she completed a BA in management with a major in human resources. Shlomit is the daughter of Rav Hanan, one of the founders of Roots.