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Leaping Into a Brighter Future: Learning Life Skills

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Seven years ago, Dr. Bill Dorfman - Dr. Bill as he is known to all - started LEAP, an incredible youth program its goal is to teach children and teenagers life skills, designed to help them become successful in life. During the seven days program duration, the participants, from all over the world, go through a life changing experience and receive the skills needed to succeed in any professions they may choose.

The LEAP acronym stands for Leadership, Excellence, Accelerating, Potential.

Dr. Bill Dorfman known as Dr. Bill photo Orly Halev
Dr. Bill Dorfman known as Dr. Bill
Photo: Orly Halevy

One participant, Madisen, told me that the program gave her much confidence and it has improved her skills a great deal. She liked it so much that she has repeated the course three times.

This year, for the first time, six Israeli youths had the privilege to participate in this unique program.

Here is how it came about. During a private dinner event, at Dina and Fred Leeds' home, Orly Halevy, a humanitarian who spends much of her free time helping not only the Los Angeles community but also the Jewish and Israeli communities, overheard Dr. Bill speaking about his program and how it was lacking the participation of children and teenagers from Israel.

Orly knows the director of American Friends of Jaffa Institute, which provides services in Israel to over 4,000 at-risk children and families each year (; she also sits on the Board of American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA). Dr. Bill is a member of the Executive Board of AFMDA and he will be honored on October 23, 2014 at the organization's annual gala. Orly put two and two together and made the connection to arrange and bring six Israeli youths to participate in LEAP's July 2014 program.

LEAP Banner
LEAP Banner
Photo: Nurit Greenger

Dr. Bill with Paul Guerin, AFMDA Chairman of the Board of the Western Region and his wife Vera, committed to bring the Israeli youths to participate in the LEAP program. Orly then called the director of Friends of Jaffa Institute, who, in return, selected the six youths who met the mandatory participation requirements, among which was sufficient command of the English language. The end result was that six Israeli youths from Tel Aviv, Ramat Hagolan (Golan Heights), Bat-Yam, Beit Shemesh and Jaffa were selected to take a life leap with LEAP.

Now that LEAP has added Israeli youths to its growing international list of participants, let us hope that next year a larger group of Israeli youths will graduate LEAP.

In the LEAP program, 100 different coaches and mentors, in the fields of science, medicine, arts, business and finance, teach the students how to conduct an interview and what and how to ask questions.

Applying to become a LEAP coach is hardly easy; this year only one out of four applicants was accepted.

The LEAP course takes place each year and is becoming the "in program" for ambitious and motivated youths who follow LEAP's cool moto: "The helpless could care less about the clueless." As Paula, a LEAP coach with a Master's Degree in Industrial Psychology summed it up: "the coolest thing with LEAP is that it is building the leaders of the next generation." For LEAP, a leader means one who takes actions beyond oneself.

The next LEAP course will take place from July 9th to July 18th, 2015 for ages 15-to-24. For more information please visit:

I may add, a society lacking the appropriate and proper leadership is a failed society.

The Israeli participants in FMDA shrits with Dr. Bill first right Paul Gruerin CENTER and first on LEFT director of American Friends of Jaffa Institute. Photo by Orly Halevy
The Israeli participants in FMDA shrits with Dr. Bill first RIGHT, Paul Gruerin CENTER and first on LEFT-director of American Friends of Jaffa Institute
Photo: Orly Halevy
Paul Guerin coaches participants. Photo by Orly Halevy
Paul Guerin coaches participants
Photo: Orly Halevy
The seminar hall at UCLA. photo by Nurit Greenger
The seminar hall at UCLA
Photo: Nurit Greenger

Nurit Greenger sees Israel and the United States equally, as the last two forts of true democratic freedom and since 2006, has been writing about events in these two countries. Contact her by writing to Read more stories by Nurit Greenger.

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