Simone’s First General Assembly

By Simone Abelsohn, Program Coordinator, Shabbat San Diego

Astonishing! Amazing! Enlightening! Love! Compassion! Community!

Just a few words that pop into my head when I think about my experiences during this year’s JFNA 2015 General Assembly in Washington DC, where more than 3,000 Jewish leaders, including six young adult leaders from San Diego, gathered to discuss our community, and our future. Each plenary session was more inspiring than the last. Communities from all over North America gathered together showing their pride and love not only for their local communities but for Israel and the Jewish community as a whole.

It was during these sessions that we not only heard from influential leaders throughout our many communities but I learned that life changing/saving activities that happen here in San Diego like P. J. Library and Young Leadership Programs, are happening everywhere with equal spirit and impact. I held on tight to each word spoken, listening to how the Federation system has impacted so many people, helped so many further their lives, create Jewish identities, and enrich their lives.

The plenary sessions were not the only times the GA made me feel inspired and complete, the breakout sessions did it too. Before each breakout session, we oft noted how we wished we could be cloned so we could sit in on multiple sessions. With topics such as Bringing Israel and Overseas Home, Tailor -Made Judaism, and No Risk, No Reward, and so many more engaging topics addressed in these sessions. Being involved in our NextGen, as the NextGen Board Chair, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing how Detroit literally broke down and recreated their now thriving Young Adult Division.

San Diego Federation President and CEO Michael Sonduck and Board Chair Brian Tauber also worked hard on creating a special San Diego sense of community at the GA. They provided us with four unique unforgettable experiences, including a personal meeting with leaders of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an intimate Jewish Agency for Israel briefing, a Keshet Reception and our own San Diego Federation dinner. All of these four experiences gave us a chance to bond, challenge each other, and ask open and honest questions. It truly felt like we were a team expanding on our Jewish knowledge, experiences, and community.

I came back from DC ready to push our community limits and truly make a difference, and I plan to do just that. So watch out San Diego, the best has yet to come!



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