This past November, five Wurzweiler students who are part of the Jewish communal service certificate program, accompanied by Dr. Saul Andron and Dr. Daniel Pollack, attended the Jewish Federation of North America General Assembly in Denver, Colorado. The Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly inspires and engages current and emerging Jewish leaders, tackles the critical issues of the day and showcases the best of the Federation movement. This year’s GA featured new initiatives to make the GA experience especially engaging. The program was designed along five tracks: The Innovation Imperative; The Middle East 2011-2012; Inspirational Leadership; Community Building; and the Federation Philanthropic Forum. This allowed participants to personalize and select which sessions to join. Below are some reflections from one of the participating students, Elana Marcus.

“The students were given the opportunity to meet privately with Wurzweiler alumni who have excelled in Jewish federations and are leaders in their fields. They provided us with great insight about how to make the GA experience meaningful and shared with us their personal journeys which have led to their success. We were also fortunate to hear from global political leaders such as Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Other leading speakers include Natan Sharansky from the Jewish Agency, Rabbi Elie Kaufner from Machon Hadar, and Jerry Silverman, CEO of Jewish Federations of North America. It was truly an amazing experience to meet these remarkable leaders and learn with them about the changing Jewish world. The GA allowed us to network with many Jewish organizations and agencies that were willing to teach us about their work and answer our questions. We were inspired by their dedication and unprecedented kindness to embrace the students who attended.

One thing that I will carry with me throughout my life was the importance of being passionate about your work. Every GA participant, whether volunteer or staff, were all deeply rooted in their work. They have dedicated thousands of hours to ensure that the Jewish Federations and other communal organizations are able to serve the Jewish community and meet the challenges and needs of their communities. Their passion and love for their work motivates them every day to serve their community. Many participants shared that the best advice they could give students is to find what you are passionate about and follow it throughout your career. They expressed that they love going to work because it brings joy and meaning to their lives.

As a student I have been greatly impacted by my experience at the GA and am thankful for being given the opportunity to attend.”


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