When the email came from my Wexner cohort member and friend Bryan Kort (Phoenix 09) about a gathering, I immediately placed the date on my calendar. Like many of you, I’m on too many boards to name and I’m overextended and burnt out and trying to juggle Jewish leadership with Jewish motherhood and family life. I am so caught up in the mundane (securing one last item for the shul Mishloah Manot, making sure the program for the JCC play doesn’t have typos, etc.) and the important (helping friends figure out how to afford the high cost of Jewish living and making difficult decisions about synagogue mergers) that, aside from listening to my rabbi on Shabbat morning, I don’t have any time for enriching my own Jewish soul anymore. I’m still so grateful to the Wexner program for coming back to Phoenix to create our class (Phoenix 09) but even so, our Tuesday night learning sessions ended some time ago.

That’s why I showed up: it was like yoga for the soul. The two Phoenix cohorts got together and learned with WGFA Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz (Class 19). Our Tu B’Shvat learning lead to a robust discussion of where we are and who we are as a Phoenix Jewish community, facilitated by Angie from the Wexner Office in NY.  I often feel like our community operates with a silo mentality.  I think coming together face-to-face for tachlis Jewish learning makes our community stronger because we are opening the lines of communication. Our Jewish community has a lot of different agendas but I think my Wexner cohort would agree that engaging the unaffiliated and inspiring the next group of community leaders are paramount.

Alison Goldstein Feinberg, an alum of the Wexner Heritage Program (Phoenix 09), currently serves as Vice Chair of Outreach for Womens Philanthropy of the Jewish Community Association of Greater Phoenix, Fundraising Chair of Congregation Or Tzion and serves on the board of directors of Camp Ramah in California. She attended Tulane University, and enjoys yoga, wine/cooking, and picking up Legos around the house. Alison can be reached at alisonfeinberg@yahoo.com

Wexner has continued to challenge our community and help all of us raise the bar a bit higher by facilitating a great discussion with our alumni group. A terrific idea was to encourage our board members to take a deeper look at our communities and how all of the various organizations can work in tandem to build a better community. We all agreed to read Ron Wolfson’s book Relational Judaism and bring these ideas to fellow leaders across the community and start meaningful conversations with our various boards. Wexner continues to make a huge difference in the Phoenix community and I owe a deep gratitude to them!

W. David Weiner, an alum of the Wexner Heritage Program (Phoenix 94-96), is the President of Weiner Insurance. He attended The American University, where he majored in Political Science, and enjoys golf, collecting vintage cars and his Chow Chow Zachary. He previously served as the Phoenix Chair of AIPAC and has held a variety of positions for the Jewish Community Association of Greater Phoenix.  David can be reached at david@weinerinsurance.com