2016-12-07 / Columns

Bringing innovative ideas from Federations across America to SNJ

Jewish Federation CEO

One of the greatest benefits to being a Jewish Federation is being a part of the General Assembly (GA) each year. The GA gives us the chance to learn best practices in everything we do here at Federation from colleagues around the world.

I attended this year’s GA with colleagues from our own Federation—each of whom went to workshops that focused on their area of responsibility here in South Jersey. Deena Sherman, our director of operations, went to workshops on how to manage internal operations and build on our strength. Martha Karasick, our director of philanthropy, attended workshops focused on development and out-of-the-box fundraising. Ronit Boyd, our director of planning, went to workshops on planning, program evaluation, and Jewish education. And, Brandon Cohen, our JCRC program director, attended workshops on domestic and Israel advocacy.

The GA was a great 2 1/2 days filled with meetings and strategy sessions with JFNA, JAFI, and JDC experts and leaders in the field. Much of the talk was focused on evolutionary and revolutionary changes taking place in the Jewish world today.

In between all the meetings and strategy sessions, I was able to attend a session on women’s philanthropy taught by the head of the School of Philanthropy from Indiana University. I learned the newest trends and the motivations for women’s giving versus men’s giving: Women are moved by opportunities to engage—and that influences their giving patterns. I was surprised to learn that 75 percent of college athletic giving is done by women in our country!

We also had the opportunity to attend plenary sessions led by Chuck Todd and an interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—the Notorious RBG. We were given inspiration from the Jewish communities in the Ukraine, Morocco, and Greece, and the last of the Yemen Jews who immigrated to Israel earlier this year. We were moved to learn about the new JFNA project to assist Ethiopian Jews in Israel to better assimilate and attain sustainable situations in which they can prosper.

We also had opportunities to meet with other similarly-sized Federations with whom I will be traveling to Israel in February. And, we attended an evening reception with the Israel Consul General responsible for our region from New York for all Federations from the State of New Jersey.

We spent time learning about new partnership opportunities with places like Moishe House, Grapejuice, and the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (who we just partnered with for a women’s mission to Israel last month).

We discovered there is a lot of push for community concierge programs—like the one we already have in place here in South Jersey. This puts us ahead of the curve on this best practice. If you don’t already know about our concierge, you’re missing out on the best resource in Jewish South Jersey! If you have a question and don’t know where to turn, we’re here to help. Call (856) 673-2554 or email concierge@jfedsnj.org

We left this year’s GA feeling inspired and motivated. We look forward to bringing some of these ideas, education, and programming to our community here in South Jersey. jweiss@jfedsnj.org

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