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Walking Willingly: Reflections on the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Mentoring Program

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2015 by Michelle Lynn-Sachs and Jenny Solomon

From her first WGF ​Institute at Ocean Edge in 1997, Jenny (Solomon, Class 10) was asked if she knew WGFA Michelle Lynn-Sachs (Class 6).  After all, we both hailed from Dallas, Texas. Each of us attended college at Brown University. Raised in actively engaged Reform Jewish homes, we both began our graduate education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.  And, if that wasn’t enough, we even share a physical resemblance, with loose auburn curls and abundant freckles…

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One Woman’s Quest for Positive News About Israel

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2015 by Anastasia Steinberg Torres-Gil

Perhaps I’ve been living among the redwoods and Patchouli oil in Santa Cruz for too long, but I’ve discovered an easy way and happy way to help Israel.  I’ve found that where I live, most people have one of three perspectives of Israel – either they 1. Don’t like it, or 2. Don’t really know about it, or 3. Both.   It’s a mystery to me why this incredible "Start-Up Nation," bursting with vibrant culinary and design creativity and crammed with…

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The Architecture of the Spaces In Between

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2015 by Lisa Colton

This quote was posted throughout The Wexner Foundation’s 30th Anniversary celebration in April.  While it’s easily accessible on the surface, the truth within this statement is quite profound, and deeply complex.  It is worth our attention as leaders to understand its implications for our leadership.   As leaders in the Jewish community we have invested our time, energy and talents in building organizations that are the foundation of Jewish life.  But all the re…

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My Mid-Life Crisis: From Lay Leader to Federation Professional

Posted on Thursday, July 23, 2015 by Gordon Hecker

Quick – name three things that come to mind when you think of a mid-life crisis? If you answered a convertible, a hairpiece and an affair with a younger woman, you got the most popular answers. But how many of you said, “leaving your corporate job and becoming a Jewish communal professional”? Once upon a time that answer was a rarity. But increasingly more of us are doing just that.   In the summer of 2012, I got the phone call that I was both hoping for and dreading. &…

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Mourning and Memory

Posted on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 by Misha Galperin

Why is Tisha B’Av, you may wonder, important to a secular Russian Jew? I grew up with little knowledge of major Jewish holidays, let alone an obscure Jewish fast day observe mostly by the Orthodox today. It is a reasonable question. It has a reasonable answer.   The timing of Tisha B’Av is particularly sensitive in my family. You see, two days after Tisha B’Av was when my father witnessed the murder of his father, the rabbi of Tomashpol, a shtetl in Ukraine. My grandfath…

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Reflections from Shabbat b'Yerushalayim

Posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 by Lindsay Feldman

Beneath the massive stone of the southwestern wall of what remains of the Second Temple, Rabbi Elka Abrahamson granted us permission to invite others into our personal prayer space by way of our imagination.  I was joined by my late grandmother — for if I had found pleasure here, she would be rejoicing, and she never had the opportunity to delight in this magnificent country.  I felt her presence.     Lost in my own memories and distracted by the magnitude of wal…

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Wexner Israel Fellows Come Together to Help Small Towns

Posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 by Ruth Wasserman Lande

    The annual Wexner Israel Fellowship Alumni (WIFA) Institute ended a few Fridays back (July 10th). I had the honor of chairing the ​Alumni Institute planning committee, and during those three days some two hundred WIFA and their partners were introduced to success stories from the municipal field, and the challenges faced by Israel's local government.   We discussed the relations between Israel's center and periphery, highlighting outstanding, exceptionally successful …

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A New Vision for the Relationship Between Israeli and North American Jewry

Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by Nadav Tamir

The relationship between Israeli and North American Jewry is in an ongoing serious crisis with dramatic implications for our future. It concerns the future relationship between the two largest and most important Jewish communities and will determine the issue of continuity of the Jewish people.   We, the graduates of the Wexner ​Israel Fellowship Program, must address this problem in Israel and make our voices heard. Since we are deeply connected to both communities and strongly committe…

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The Qualities of Excellence in Leadership

Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by Or Mars and Rabbi Jay Moses

Cultivating excellence in the next generation of Jewish leaders can be compared to the work of a casting director in Hollywood. Through the course of her day the casting director sees countless talented actors many of whom, given the right break, could emerge as stars. But the job of the casting director is not to find the next star but to place the actor in the right situation that will create the perfect ensemble for a hit movie.   Similar to casting a movie, pinpointing excellence in J…

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Women Pushing Through Walls

Posted on Thursday, July 09, 2015 by Greg Landsman

"Hear the whisper from the angel that compels you to grow."   Rabbi Elka Abrahamson, who helped lead our visit to Israel, and whose leadership and humanity I admire and adore, offered the advice above before we set out to explore this country.  I took the advice, "to hear the whisper from the angel that compels you to grow", and now come home more than ten days later, different. "Updated," perhaps. I've seen a side of Israel I'd never seen before, and the experiences affirmed for me …

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