It was with absolute delight, and déjà vu, that 21 Wexner alumni and some spouses of the San Diego Heritage classes met this past week to study with Rabbi Nathan Laufer.  

What a treat! 

Rabbi Laufer, the former president and CEO of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, was visiting San Diego and we were honored to have the opportunity to offer our fellow alumni the chance to learn together with him.

As we met old friends in this familiar setting of learning, memories of over twenty years ago — the most inspirational years we had — of being part of the Wexner family were reignited. Nothing had changed. Most of us see each other quite frequently, as nearly every single attendee had or still has major leadership roles in our community. We are proud that the members of our cohorts excelled at immersing themselves in leadership positions soon after graduation and continue to do so today. But reuniting in a Wexner-only group setting was special for us all. 

We studied Yitro with Rabbi Laufer and found ourselves exploring every book of the Bible where a commandment is “miraculously” inserted. Over coffee, we enjoyed looking at old photo albums of our time in Israel and telling stories of our wonderful two years together. It was just like old times! 

Claire Ellman, an alum of the Wexner Heritage Program (San Diego 1), is the co-founder and current advisor of ChaiSouthAfrica, an international initiative raising funds for Jewish institutions in southern Africa. She is a past board and executive member of JESNA and a founding chair of its Lippman Kanfer Institute. She has served on the boards of many San Diego Jewish institutions, including the San Diego Jewish Academy and UCSD Hillel. Claire can be reached at