Campaign Update - Campaign UpWhat makes a healthy Jewish Community? May 30,

What makes a healthy Jewish Community? This was a question that came out of a meeting I attended this morning. Of course, when you think of the word healthy, two thoughts come immediately to mind: a healthy body (the JCC has a quality fitness center and pool and soon will have Edge of the Woods as the café – June 8) and a healthy mind (there are 3 Jewish day schools in town, our synagogues have strong religious school and adult education programs, the JCC has Yeladim pre-school and an Arts and Culture Program that includes a lot of mind nourishment).

But this is not enough. What makes a healthy Jewish Community is one where we all work together for the betterment of Jewish life in and around New Haven. Back in February I told you about the working session that our Jewish communal professionals (rabbis, agency executives and other senior Jewish staff) had with Ron Wolfson and how one of the suggestions that came out of the meeting was that the group needed to spend more time together ‘relating’ to each other as people, and not as organizations. This past Tuesday, we did just that. Over sushi, noodles and green beans and wine the group reconvened in the JCC Living Room. It was a great chance to talk ‘personal’ and not ‘shop’. For me I finally had the chance to meet [face to face] Leah Cohen from Slifka. I had spoken to her during Planning & Allocations, but not in person.  This time we talked about our kids. Then I sat down to be part of a conversation between Melanie Waynik (Ezra), Mendy Hecht (SCHA) and Endy Sarkany (Campaign). We all left that evening knowing that our next get together would once again be a working meeting, but still looking forward to seeing our friends.

Part two of how we are striving to make this a healthy Jewish community is the Synagogue and Federation Collaborative. Last fall Deb Gaudette (Temple Beth David) and Eric Gallant (Congregation Or Shalom) were asked to lead an effort to bring synagogue leaders together to explore how we all can work more closely and to “Open the lines of communication among area synagogues and help coordinate partnership opportunities for programming, economies of scale, and information sharing”. After a few months of meeting, the group came up with this statement of purpose:  The mission of the Synagogue and Federation Collaborative is to create a permanent platform to create enhanced communications, relationships, and synergies between the synagogues and Federation and to build a stronger and vibrant Greater New Haven Jewish Community.

Our healthy Jewish Community continues to be a work in progress, as it should be. There is always more to be done, more people to include and more programs to create.

There will be no Campaign Update next week. On Wednesday and Thursday, we will celebrate Shavuot and then on Friday Caroline and I are off to Williamstown, MA for Josh’s graduation on Sunday. He’s now ready to be part of a healthy Jewish community. He has his healthy body (rugby-trained), healthy mind (college diploma) and he’s already looked into what is available Jewishly in his [soon to join] community of Palo Alto, CA.


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