We are proud to announce the call for nominations for the 2020 Laurie Rogoway Outstanding Jewish Professional Award. Established 6 years ago to honor our esteemed colleague and friend Laurie Rogoway, a pillar of Jewish professional leadership for over 30 years in Portland. Please click here to learn more about the award and the nomination process.
This week, I received a call from representatives of the Wexner Foundation that they invited finalists to interview for one of 20 slots in this incredible two-year leadership program for people between the ages of 30-50 (with some wiggle room). Neither the Jewish Federation nor I have a role in selecting the finalists or the final cohort, but here is what I do know.
103 people were nominated by Portland community leaders for the program. 84 nominees completed the application. And, 33 people have been selected to interview.
Representatives of the Wexner Foundation shared how impressed they were by the quality of our candidates – the diversity, depth of Jewish involvement, and creative thoughts about Jewish life - more so than most other communities.
Earlier this week, I got to experience one of my favorite opportunities of the year. I met with program participants of Pathways, a young adult program creating avenues to learn more about our Jewish community, network, and receive mentoring from seasoned community leaders. This is our fourth cohort and we are delighted by the successes!
Lauren Goldstein, Jewish Federation Chair of the Board, and I met with 14 of the participants and had an informal and frank conversation about our Jewish community.
First, let me share a little about this group:
Lauren and I spent time talking about the Jewish Federation and its role in the community – past, present, and future. We also answered any questions they had about the Jewish community. But of greatest interest to us was hearing from these young people their comments and thoughts about our Jewish community and their experiences:
When we asked them what kind of programs they are looking for, their answers included everything you would expect: Bar/coffee house nights out, hands-on volunteer opportunities, business networking events, etc. They also mentioned Jewish learning opportunities, cooking classes, book clubs, and holiday celebrations. They seem to be interested in as much as possible.
Many of these things currently happen, but not with the community level of participation we want. To build the next generation of community leadership, our Jewish young adult community/organizations need to more fully come together, work together, and support efforts to engage as many people as possible. We can do it!
Lauren Goldstein summed up the evening beautifully when she said, “It is refreshing to hear from this group so many positive and constructive ideas. You will make our community better for you and everyone else. We are fortunate to have so many young leaders in the making. Thank you.”