Local Leaders Tackle Social Issues in Israel

(DENVER) – This week, Denver’s Hirsch Neustein, Marisa Porter, and Whitney Wolz are representing JEWISHcolorado alongside 100 Jewish leaders and philanthropists for the first major North American young leadership mission to Israel since the pandemic, dubbed “New Mission for a New Generation.”  Participants who are all in their 30’s and 40’s are members of the Jewish Federations of North America’s Young Leadership Cabinet, the largest and fastest growing pluralistic leadership pipeline of the North American Jewish community with 4,300 alumni and 425 current members.

“We are proud to have these young and engaged Jewish leaders representing Colorado and doing the important work of tackling critical issues that impact the Jewish community at home and abroad,” said JEWISHcolorado President and CEO Rabbi Jay Strear. “We must work to inspire deeper understanding and collectively find solutions to our most difficult challenges.”

The aim of the week-long mission is to engage in dialogue around some of the most pressing social issues of relevance to this generation, including challenges around Israel-Diaspora relations, Israel’s emerging and dynamic geopolitical and humanitarian role on the global stage and pluralism and diversity in Israel.

The hands-on agenda reflects the interest of next-gen Jewish leadership in taking a proactive approach to social issues in Israeli society, and their desire to engage in dialogue with Israeli peers and leaders towards practical outcomes.

These current and future leaders of the North American Jewish community are meeting with President Isaac Herzog and Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg as well as changemakers, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and young Israeli innovators.  They are exploring Jewish Federation funded projects promoting diversity and inclusion that serve Jews of color, people with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community.  They are also meeting with new immigrants from Ukraine and Ethiopia and distributing gift cards for the purchase of food and medicine at Israeli supermarkets and pharmacies.

“Even in the past two years, the pace of change in Israel is remarkable, and our Cabinet leaders are finally meeting once again face-to-face with Israeli peers and thought-leaders so that they can share best practices, tackle challenging questions and bring this experience back to their communities to invigorate other Jewish leaders in Israel related conversations,” shared Rabbi David Kessel, Associate VP of National Young Leadership at Jewish Federations of North America. “Especially in this pandemic era, Jewish Federations are highly attuned to the evolving needs of today’s young Jews and are engaging in innovative ways that help the next generation connect with issues they care about.”

Cabinet is marking 59 years of young leadership development.  Last year, Cabinet members raised more than $3.6 million as part of Jewish Federations’ annual campaign.  Notable cabinet alumni include Reps. Kathy Manning and Ted Deutch, Dr. Deborah Lipstadt and CEO’s and chairs of Jewish institutions, including Jewish Federations of North America Chair of the Board of Trustees Mark Wilf and CEO and President Eric Fingerhut.

As the Federation entity in Colorado, JEWISHcolorado mobilizes resources that support Jewish life and learning and works to ensure that our Jewish heritage remains vibrant, secure, and accessible for all Jews, in Colorado and around the world.

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