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Reflections on Our New Community: Auspicious Beginnings

Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 by Jeff Bartos

I was privileged to spend five days last week in Snowmass, Colorado with the Philadelphia, New York and New York RSJ new 2016 WHP cohorts and their spouses, the Wexner team and an amazing group of teachers.  We arrived in Colorado excited and a bit nervous at the prospect of meeting so many new people.  Too short a time later, we left Colorado having made deep connections with dozens of new friends and feeling extremely fortunate to be the newest members of the "Wexner family".  …


Directions Towards a New Israeli Cultural Identity

Posted on Monday, July 25, 2016 by Brenda Mordinstin

It was an exciting, challenging and moving summer conference this year for Israeli Wexners, one in which we examined current problems and future opportunities for change in Israeli society. The underlying conference theme – Directions Towards a New Israeli Cultural Identity – elicited much curiosity, discussion, heated argument, engagement and especially a sense of responsibility among our Wexner Fellowship alumni:  what are the implications of our current national challenges on…


Thoughts on Becoming Chair of the Board of Hillel International

Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2016 by Tina Price

As Jews, we don’t agree on much.  Two Jews, three opinions, or the old joke that two Jews stranded on a desert island build three synagogues — one for each of them, and one synagogue that no one will visit on principle.  The one thing we do agree on is that we send our kids to college.  There are roughly 400,000 Jewish undergraduate students in North America, with an additional 100,000-150,000 grad students.  For the first time in their lives, these students are m…


Practicing Resilient Listening

Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 by Joanna Samuels

I recently had the privilege of helping lead an Encounter trip to Bethlehem, East Jerusalem and Ramallah.  I came away with the strong belief that all communal leaders should participate in one of these trips. Encounter is an organization near and dear to many Wexner alumni and, in fact, many alumni were on my trip.  Started 10 years ago by two WGF Alumni, Rabbi Melissa Weintraub (Class 14)  and Rabbi Miriam Margles (Class 14), and currently led by WGF Alum, Yona Shem-Tov (Class …


It Takes a Wexner Heritage Class to Get the Job Done

Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2016 by Joel Shalit

For well over a decade, the 106-year-old Montreal YM-YWHA Jewish Community Centers (the “Y”) and United Talmud Torah-Herzliah (“Herzliah”), a mainstream Jewish day school founded over 120 years ago, have considered the possibility of building a new high school immediately adjacent, and physically connected to, the Y.  By connecting these two institutions, both physically and strategically, the entirety of the Montreal Jewish Community would benefit from a continued s…


A View from Dallas

Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2016 by Cheryl Drazin

This is the patrol car of Sgt. Michael Smith who was laid to rest today.  He was stationed at the North Central Command Station, which provides service to the vast majority of Jewish institutions in Dallas.  Although you can't see it, there are notes, drawings and messages from many Jewish organizations — day camps, congregations and community members.  There is even an Israeli flag with a note attached declaring that “Israel stands with Dallas.” This week I part…


When What We See Is Not What We Say — Leading a Change in the World of National Security

Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 by Elisha Gechter and Gil Avriel

During his time at Harvard Kennedy School, Gil Avriel, WIF Alum (Class 26) and Legal Adviser to the Israeli National Security Council at the Office of the Prime Minister, published an innovative theory in the Harvard National Security Journal that hopes to change the way we understand ISIS and terrorism.  A year after his graduation, Gil's Civilitary Theory is cited and commended by world experts, discussed at leading national security conferences and explored by governments.  Eli…


Elie Wiesel’s Legacy: The Best Way We Can Be Human Is To Be Profoundly Jewish

Posted on Wednesday, July 06, 2016 by Joe Kanofsky

With the passing of Elie Wiesel this week, I lost a dear teacher and mentor of over 30 years.  I will always be his student.   From the first time I heard him speak when I was a teenager until our last meeting just two years ago, he asked me questions that I needed to ask myself, supervised my graduate theses, taught me how to teach and lived and sang and smiled so that I would understand what it means to be a Jew.  Sifting through so many memories, I realized that elements of W…


Sending Ourselves In

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2016 by Dena Schulman-Green

The following words of torah were shared this week in Utah as we gathered 182 Heritage members and their spouses for their Summer Institute, MADREGOT: Stepping Up Your Leadership.    In this week's parsha, Shelach, Moshe sends scouts to bring back reports of Canaan — the nature of the land, its strengths and limitations and samples of its produce.  Most of the scouts bring back reports that the land is magnificent, flowing with milk and honey, but that it is well fortified…


WGF Lean In Circles

Posted on Monday, June 27, 2016 by Abby Sosland, Sari Laufer and Ruthie Warshenbrot

At first glance, many of the women who completed the Wexner Graduate Fellowship (WGF) seem to be at the top of their game.  They are running organizations, teaching at the highest levels and represented in professional Jewish life in powerful ways.  Anyone might guess that these women are “leaning in” to their careers; who would have thought that they would be so eager to share and glean support from one another?  The experience of our WGF Lean In Circles this past yea…


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