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Loss, Learning and Leadership

Posted on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 by Jonathan Berkowitz

Fourteen years ago, both my parents died in a car accident. How does one cope with such a tragedy? I was immediately transformed from child to orphan.  My siblings, each of whom made aliyah many years ago, and I decided immediately on burial in Israel. Thanks in part to help from the Jewish community network, we were able to handle the complicated arrangements. But my story is about what happened afterwards. Would I say kaddish for the year of mourning? As far as I knew, no family member, …


In Paris, a Shabbat Marred by Terror

Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 by Rabbi Aaron D. Panken

This first-hand account of the terror in Paris was written by Aaron D. Panken, WGF Class 8, and first appeared on JTA's website on Monday, November 16, 2015.    PARIS (JTA) — My son and I met in Paris on Friday morning, walked the charming streets of the City of Light, visited the Picasso and Pompidou museums, then went to synagogue at the MJLF (Mouvement Juif Libéral de France), one of the most vibrant Reform synagogues in Paris. Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur, a respected …


Choisir La Vie

Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 by Gary Grad

As the world mourns the loss of innocent life in Paris, I, like many, struggle to confront my feelings; Paris, Jerusalem, New York City and so many places around the world, have witnessed a common evil that must be confronted by a unified civil world. As we all declare our solidarity, sympathy and empathy with Paris and her citizens, we must question what it really means to do so. Yes, it means to comfort and console right now. But it must mean more: radical and violent extremism must be elimin…


Heard Round WexWorld: JFNA GA

Posted on Monday, November 16, 2015 by Marcia Cohodes, Ofer Chen and Stephen Hazan Arnoff, Luay Bader, Maria Ben-Assa, Jennifer Weinstock

Pictured from right to left: Marcia Cohodes, WHP Alum (Minneapolis), Stephen Hazan Arnoff, WGF Alum (Class 13) and Ofer Chen, current WIF (Class 27), meet each other at The Wexner Foundation Reception.     Ofer Chen, current WIF (Class 27): My favorite thing about the GA was the feeling of a special connection bonding all participants from so many places and opinions into one community, and allowing each of us to approach others and naturally engage in conversation. …


A View from the Women’s Section on Orthodox Spiritual Leadership

Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2015 by Julie Gruenbaum Fax

I have a vivid memory of sitting in my yeshiva high school principal’s office, imploring him to start teaching the girls Mishnah and Gemara, to offer a little more respect to our intellects and our souls by giving us access to all the Jewish texts that form the basis of our heritage, of what we were expected to live every day. He said no, for four years. Did he quote sources at me stating that women’s minds are too feeble for it? Say that it wouldn’t interest me anyway? That it…


A Snippet from the JFNA GA 2016

Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2015 by Mordy Walfish

    The following is an excerpt from Mordy's acceptance speech:   As I’ve spent the last eight years working in this field, I’ve been incredibly blessed and lucky to have had people – leaders – along the way who have believed in me, saw some potential in me, elevated me sometimes before I was ready, let me take risks…let me fail and let me learn. I want to especially acknowledge The Wexner Foundation, whose gift of a graduate fellowship has given…


How a Legacy Organization Builds New Leadership

Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2015 by Samantha Pohl

Recently, I was sifting through photos of National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) volunteers meeting with young girls in the lines at Ellis Island to save them from becoming victims of sex trafficking, and had an "aha moment" — one of those moments where we become fully clear and grateful about how and why we are committing our lives to Jewish service.   I had accepted the role of NCJW’s Associate Director of Development a few months earlier and here, sitting at the Ame…


Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is

Posted on Thursday, November 05, 2015 by Olga Rybak

I first learned that phrase as it was written in white letters on a big blue pin gifted by some rare American guest visiting my town in central Ukraine in late 80s. I liked wearing it on my denim jacket, but I don’t think I quite understood it because the notion of investing or philanthropy were as foreign as that American guest.   But times and places change and I catch myself thinking more and more about investing money — for profit or for the idea — to where my heart …


The "Women in Technology” Project

Posted on Sunday, November 01, 2015 by Dr. Osnat Luxenburg, Brigadier General Rachel Tevet Wiesel, Brigadier General Sharon Afek, Eldad Canetti

Israel has successfully branded itself as "Startup Nation", but can it continue being so with only 20% female employees in the hi tech industry?   Last winter, 40 senior executives from the Israeli civil service took part in the 1st class of the Wexner Senior Leadership Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Participating in this 4 week program was an overwhelming experience: learning from the best teachers in the world, in an outstanding setting, with terrific peers. Even the freezing t…


Lest You Think I Am Getting All Hysterical and Anti-Zionist on You, I Assure You I Am Not

Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 by Jeremy Kalmanofsky

Reposted with thanks to The Forward    Sunday was the 12th of Cheshvan, a grim anniversary: 20 years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. He was shot on a Saturday night after the world’s synagogues read the Torah portion Lech Lecha, the first night of the week looking toward the next reading, VaYera, the “binding of Isaac.”   But in real life, unlike in the biblical story of human sacrifice, no angel narrowly averted the disaster.   Twenty years …


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