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Wexner Heritage Program


One of the toughest decisions that we will all need to make at different points in our careers is to know when to declare victory and move on. When is the right time to go?

Gratitude, the basic, fundamental awareness of the good we receive, the gift of life that is bestowed upon us wholly undeserved on our part, is something our sages tried hard to cultivate across generations. And I submit gratitude is not a simple concept.

I would like to argue for the centrality of hope as a core Jewish value and then consider the value of hope from the perspective of leadership...hope fuels the capacity to envision the future we want and supplies us with the energy to build it – no matter how long it takes. In contrast to optimism, the tendency to merely forecast positive outcomes, hope involves the ongoing struggle to bring those outcomes about.

This war has evoked the “never again” emotion and determination in many in the Jewish community and beyond. I hear this in conversations in Cleveland and in Israel and in Poland. The overwhelming commitment and demonstrations of volunteers embracing and caring for Ukrainian refugees is awe inspiring.

“And who knows, perhaps you have attained to royal position for just such a crisis.” Esther 4:14 This question/suggestion from Mordechai to Esther has resonated throughout the four zoom calls of Wexner Alums gathering to explore what we can do to respond to the crisis in Ukraine.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the global Project Kesher community has been organizing to support Ukrainian women and families. Operating in Ukraine since 1989, Project Kesher Ukraine (PKU) has a grassroots network of over 300 trained leaders from Ukraine who are originally from more than 40 cities. Now, though they are nearly all uprooted and moving around due to war, PKU-trained leaders are working to help others.

The Wexner Foundation is pleased to announce three new classes of the renowned Wexner Heritage Program with dynamic volunteer leaders from Cleveland, Palm Beach, Florida, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

I am hoping that perhaps with a day of communal fasting followed by a raucous celebration of Purim and the world turned upside down we will balance ourselves out again.  And have renewed strength to do the work required to make what we know is possible real. 

The same things that fuel our imaginations when we are young fuel them as we age, however the demands on our time are so much greater. It is often easier to allow our imaginations to remain dormant, living a lifestyle that does not allow the space for creativity to develop.

For me, the amount of supervision comes down to a formula I’ve developed over the years: What is my unique value added per unit of (my) effort?