This week, JEWISHcolorado’s own Hirsch Neustein, a 2-term board member, Marisa Porter, and Whitney Wolz traveled to Israel alongside 100 Jewish leaders and philanthropists for the first major North American young leadership mission to Israel, dubbed “New Mission for a New Generation” and the first since the pandemic. 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.
The aim of the week-long mission is to engage in dialogue around some of the most pressing and relevant social issues, 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 both engage in dialogue with Israeli peers and leaders and work towards practical outcomes.
Mission participants will meet with President Isaac Herzog and Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg, as well as changemakers, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and young Israeli innovators and explore Federation-funded projects promoting diversity and inclusion that serve Jews of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community. They’ll also meet with new immigrants from Ukraine and Ethiopia and distribute 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.”
Last year, Cabinet’s 58th, members raised over $3.6 million as part of Jewish Federations’ annual campaign. Notable cabinet alumni include Reps. Kathy Manning and Ted Deutch, Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, recently confirmed United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism, and CEO’s and chairs of Jewish institutions, including JFNA Chair of the Board of Trustees Mark Wilf and CEO and President Eric Fingerhut.