Building relationships at home and beyond

The Jewish Federation is serious about the continued growth and development of its professionals, which is a prerequisite to building a strong and productive organization. Last week I wrote about Jennifer Cohen, our Director of Outreach and Engagement, attending a national PJ Library conference. Last spring, Community Relations Director Marli Porth attended a Jewish Council on Public Affairs (JCPA) national conference. Today, I am reporting that our Maitland Campus Security Director, Andy Brennan, recently attended a national Federations' security summit in Washington, D.C.    


The summit was organized by Secure Community Network (SCN) of the Jewish Federations of North America. The conference gave Andy a chance to meet and interact with his colleagues from around the country, share best practices and get briefed by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The group visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and saw its state-of-the-art security command center. It so happened that the summit was held at the downtown DC JCC, and as a "bonus," Andy met and spent some time with my daughter and granddaughter, who live next door to the JCC. 


Here at home, the past week was filled with committee meetings and conversations with community members and professional colleagues. My job often brings me in contact with diverse and fascinating people and organizations. One such interaction happened on Wednesday. The World Affairs Council of Central Florida (WACCF) is one of many councils for international visitors located throughout the United States. These councils help to facilitate the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program. The emphasis of the program is to increase mutual understanding through communication at the personal and professional levels. I first heard about it last year when WACCF contacted me about arranging Shabbat home hospitality for a six-person delegation of Israeli educators who were visiting Orlando to learn how STEM curriculum is being implemented in our educational system. Since I was out of town that weekend, I asked my good friends to invite the group to a Shabbat dinner at their home.

A few weeks ago WACCF called me again and asked me to meet with this year's Israeli delegation. I was happy to do it and I was especially thankful to Rabbi David Kay, who joined us. The four-man group representing several Israeli non-governmental organizations was interested in learning about our Jewish community. After a brief overview of the Orlando Jewish community, the hour-long conversation focused mainly on the changing relationship between the American Jewish community and Israel, and particularly on the changing attitudes toward Israel among the younger generations.

The Jewish Federation is very much focused on reaching out to and engaging the younger generations, which we accomplish through Our Jewish Orlando with its many initiatives and projects. This work is made possible by your partnership with the Federation. As we move toward a successful completion of the 2017 Annual Campaign, we want to make sure that the partnership continues to thrive. Please visit our Annual Campaign page today and renew your commitment to the future of the Jewish people.


Thank you and Shabbat Shalom,