I am in the midst of preparing for my first trip to Israel as your Federation CEO!
The purpose of my trip is twofold:
1) I will join hundreds of leaders and professionals from Jewish communities around the world as we attend The Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly (GA). This annual conference offers the unique opportunity to learn about, discuss, and tackle some of the challenges facing our Jewish world today. I will have the opportunity to be at this conference with several members of our community, including our Board Chair Elect, David Bramzon.
2) I am excited to spend a full day on the ground visiting our partners in the Sha’ar HaNegev region learning about incredible programs and efforts our own community has invested in over the years. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to listen to and learn from our partners so that I can come back and share with you stories that demonstrate the deep impactful work we have been part of in the region.
The theme of this year’s GA is “We Need to Talk.” I appreciate the idea that there is much to do in order to strengthen the bonds between Israel and our North American Jewish community. Separated by thousands of miles, but connected by a shared history and heritage, this relationship is vital to the future of the Jewish people. I recall leading and participating in a seminar in 1999 in Israel that brought together Israelis and North Americans to talk and learn about one another with the goal of forging deeper bonds and a better understanding of our respective Jewish communities.
What I found to be the most compelling part of that experience wasn’t that we talked to each other, but that we listened to one another. We came away from the experience with a profound respect for and understanding of one another.
I have learned, during my first few weeks here in San Diego, about the incredible bonds this community has already forged with our friends in Sha’ar HaNegev. I am sure this trip will give me an opportunity to continue those conversations and to listen to our partners, all within the context of deepening our relationship.
I look forward to sharing more while in Israel.