Reflections from Our CEO, Gil Preuss

From our CEO Gil Preuss. With Head shot.

Moving Beyond Thoughts & Prayers

I write to you today from a place of deep pain and frustration. I am shaken, not with surprise, but with the palpable devastation, anger, and heartbreak that have become

Resilience, Challenge, and Change in Israel

Pictured: (l to r) Rabbi Daniel Zemel, Gil Preuss, Rabbi David Spinrad, Rabbi Deborah Megdal, Rabbi Sarah Tasman, Rabbi Aaron Potek, Rabbi Mitch Berkowitz, Rabbi UriTopolosky, and Rabbi Evan Krame

Creating a Community of Belonging

In today’s social and political landscape, American society and the Jewish community are facing growing divisions on topics that define us – from politics to identity to core values and

Embracing an Evolving Israel

Those dedicated to Israel’s bright future will not be deterred by senseless violence, like the recent attack in Elad on Thursday night, during a Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration. As we mourn

On Memory and Building for the Future

This week, Jewish communities worldwide observed Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. We set aside this sacred time and space to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, honor

Together Again

At our Annual Meeting on June 16th, Federation will honor 18 remarkable Jewish individuals under 40: the Capital Chai (18). We’re looking for the innovators, thought leaders, creators, activists, builders,

Helping Those in Need Around the World…and Around the Corner

I am humbled by the incredible support within our community to care for those in Ukraine. So many of you have already made an enormous impact, helping Federation raise more

Standing with Israel as a Jewish Community

Over the past week, Israel has faced three separate terror attacks in one of the deadliest waves of terror since the second intifada. Heartbroken by the senseless loss of eleven

On the Global Jewish Refugee Crisis

We watch in horror as the war in Ukraine continues. The conflict has created an enormous refugee crisis, with more than 3.3 million people fleeing and another 6.5 million displaced

Reflections from Ukraine’s Border

Early Monday morning, I arrived in Poland to take part in The Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) humanitarian mission to Ukraine’s border. I was honored to represent our community

Our Impact in Ukraine

This Sunday, I am honored to be traveling to Poland and the border of Ukraine with The Jewish Federations of North America to represent our community and learn more about

Preserving Vibrant Jewish Life in Ukraine

Over ten years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the amazing Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. This is a community that faced devastation during WWII and then continued decline

Supporting Ukrainian Jews

Today, as we continue to watch in horror as war unfolds in Europe, I want to focus on elevating the urgent efforts to support our Jewish family in Ukraine. After

Supporting the Global Jewish Community

Year-round, Federation works closely with international agencies to meet the needs of Jewish communities in Israel and more than 70 countries around the globe, including Ukraine. Belonging to a global

Expanding the Discourse on Israel & Zionism

We are living in complex times, where differences of opinion can prove incredibly divisive even within close-knit communities. For our American Jewish community, discourse about Israel, in particular, has become

Our Collective Security

Two weeks ago, Jewish communities around the world witnessed the strength and resilience that comes with preparation for an emergency. Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker has since credited his ability to react

Standing Strong & Secure

In an interview this past Monday, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker recounted the chilling hours when he and three of his congregants were held hostage in their synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel. I’ve

A Force for Good

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to share feedback on my recent reflections. Your comments continue to be thought-provoking and inspiring, and I’m always grateful to

Principles for the Future

Over the past few weeks, I have been reading predictions for 2022—forecasts of new words, foods, colors, global developments, fears, and more. I typically find these predictions enjoyable, though they

A Video Message from Federation CEO Gil Preuss

As 2021 comes to an end, I want to thank you for keeping Jewish Greater Washington vibrant and strong. I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s video reflection—something a little different

Moving Forward Together

As we approach the end of 2021, I am feeling particularly energized by everything that our community accomplished this year. Looking ahead to what’s next and how our decisions today will

Introducing Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh

Earlier this week, I was honored to hold a webinar conversation with Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh, the first-ever Druze Israeli envoy to any North American Jewish community.

Strengthening Jewish Life in NOVA

Community-wide collaborative projects are a lot like icebergs. The results you see are often and rightfully cause for celebration. But it’s the small miracles and the hard work of the

In Awe of Awe

One of the most memorable experiences from my childhood came when I was on a family vacation as a teenager at Yosemite National Park. Going on a hike and turning

On Gratitude and Giving

Last Thanksgiving, we were presented with difficult questions amid the pandemic. A time usually reserved for us to slow down and gather with loved ones instead brought on feelings of

Reducing Risk

As we readjusted to daylight saving time this week, I found myself wondering why we sustain practices even after they no longer make sense. Countless people and organizations continue specific

The Resilient Community

On my nightstand, there is a seemingly endless stack of books. On top of the pile is The Resilient Society, by Princeton’s Professor Markus K. Brunnermeier. I learned of the

Creating a Vibrant Jewish Community, Together

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where we go from here as a community, and I know I’m not alone. We’ve all seen how the pandemic accelerated earlier shifts

Condemning Antisemitism in All Forms—and in our Backyard

This is not the reflection I’d planned to share this week. But then the DC chapter of national climate action group Sunrise Movement publicly declined to participate in a Washington voting rights rally, based solely on

An Interactive Look at Our Communal Accomplishments

2021 hasn’t been easy, as we all know. Many in our community have faced significant challenges. And yet, 2021 also highlighted our community’s strength, resilience, and compassion. I encourage you

The Power of Listening

I recently watched Worth, the biopic about DC attorney Kenneth Feinberg and his administration of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. I first met Ken through his wife, Dede Feinberg, former president of Federation

Honoring our Community Builders

Last night, I had the pleasure of gathering with many local community and real estate industry leaders for an event more than two years in the making: Cornerstone. I’m still feeling energized by the momentum from the evening, blown away by the $1.25 million

Standing Together in Community

Every year during Kol Nidre services on erev Yom Kippur, I am struck by how we begin with this collective prayer. We stand together as a community, confessing our guilt and asking for

9/11 and the Importance of Memory

This week, as my family and I celebrated Rosh Hashanah, my mind has also been on those we lost on 9/11 twenty years ago. My family, like so many others, is

A Time of Transitions

Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) begins Monday evening, and I imagine I’m not alone in thinking about transitions. This past year has been one of constant changes, pivots, and

Welcoming the Stranger

Many of us are watching the situation in Afghanistan with growing alarm and worry. As I write, it’s been about two weeks since Kabul fell to the Taliban. Nearly 90,000

Present in the Garden

Last week, our Federation professional team came together at a local taproom. It was the first in-person gathering we’ve had in a year and a half. There was no agenda,

Living With Ambiguity

Last Sunday, we observed Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. This fast day commemorates five historic calamities, including the destruction of the first and second

Thinking Locally and Acting Globally

Last week, I reflected on my hope that some of the changes brought about by the pandemic are here to stay. I’ve continued to consider the potential implications of these

Pandemic Lessons for a Post-pandemic World

On July 11th, please join Federation and many other organizations for a rally at the U.S. Capitol—No Fear: A Rally In Solidarity with the Jewish People.  On a recent sunny afternoon,

Jewish Life in America: Writing the Roadmap

Two years ago, in a learning session led by Federation and the Shalom Hartman Institute, participants were asked, “do you believe America’s relationship with the Jewish community is unique? Or

Joy, Community, Identity, and S’mores

Our hearts and thoughts are with the Miami community following the devastating building collapse in Surfside, FL. The Greater Miami Jewish Federation has established an emergency assistance fund to support those impacted

Obligated to See

When I was in Israel a couple of weeks ago, something caught my eye. In the entry way of the Hinam Center for Social Tolerance in Abu Ghosh outside of

Striding Forward

The 2020 Pew Research Report on American Jews underscores our different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives on Jewish identity. The survey found the next generation of Jews is growing racially and

Jewish and Democratic

I spent the last three days on a Federation Rabbinic Mission trip to Israel with a group of eight rabbis from Greater Washington. As one of the first groups to

Speaking Truth to All

Earlier this spring, the ADL released their 2020 audit of antisemitic incidents in the United States. The report found last year’s numbers to be the third highest on record since
Photo of CEO Gil Preuss at Podium

Responding to Needs in Israel

As the region begins to recover from the most dramatic escalation of violence in more than a decade, The Jewish Federation remains committed to helping those struggling in its wake.

A Vital Pursuit

A couple of weeks ago, Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman spoke at a Federation and Shalom Hartman Institute leadership convening. Among the many points he made, one in particular struck me:

Responding to the Crisis in Israel

As the unprecedented, sustained attacks by Hamas continue on Israeli citizens, Federation unequivocally supports Israel’s right to defend itself. We are working closely with our global partners to ensure that

An Opportunity to Make a Difference

Jews around the world will soon celebrate the holiday of Shavuot. In addition to welcoming the spring harvest, Shavuot commemorates a seminal event in Jewish religious memory. It is said
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Building Blocks of Community

We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of life during last night’s Lag B’Omer celebration in northern Israel. Our thoughts are with the many families who lost loved ones. May
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The Continuous Pursuit of Justice

Many Jews cite the mandate to pursue justice as one of Judaism’s most inspiring teachings and a value that defines their connection to Jewish life. The idea that we are
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The Next Chapter in Our Relationship with Israel

As a teenager, I used to wear a shirt that read “Israel Is Real.” This statement operated on a couple of levels (though I may not have appreciated it at
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Good Deeds Year

Throughout the Passover break, I found myself standing in my backyard thinking of all the things I had meant to accomplish during quarantine. I had ambitions of constructing raised flower beds. Of planting vegetables. Of becoming a tried-and-true gardener.
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Agents of Hope

To me, Passover is a ritual with the perfect blend of continuity and innovation. Indeed, many of us find comfort in Passover’s familiar structure. Every year, Jews around the world
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On Building a Community of Belonging

We just passed the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic. These past twelve months have had a profound impact on us all and have highlighted just how much individual experiences
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Reuniting with Israel

In one of her first articles of the year, professor and thought leader Dr. Erica Brown wrote about what it might feel like to revive dormant friendships once COVID-19 finally
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Keep the Evolution Going

As Zoom Happy Hours gave way to Zoom Seders, Zoom break-fasts, and eventually Zoom menorah lightings, it became clear that our year of living digitally would have lasting impacts on
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Why We Remember

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date was chosen to reflect the day on which the largest Nazi concentration camp,
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Thank You for Stepping Up

Over the past few years, I have watched as individuals have gone out of their way to contribute to sustaining Jewish Greater Washington. Federation’s Annual Campaign, for instance, customarily receives donations from thousands of people across multiple zip codes who all want to make a difference, care for our community’s
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On Pausing to Read

I started writing this reflection two weeks ago. After watching what unfolded on January 6, however, I chose to set this draft aside and focus on the historic and heartbreaking
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The Words I Will Remember

The poet Adrienne Rich described the power of language as the power to define “our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.” She might agree that when it comes to
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A New Extraordinary

We did not ask for a portal between an old world and a new one, but the pandemic has given us just that. The crises of 2020 created a fissure
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Paying Tribute to Our Lay Leaders

This year, as individuals and as a community, we have faced demands never before seen in our lifetimes. We have been asked to think and act differently and consider ideas
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Building Trust as a Community

Division has been a consistent theme of this year. As a country, we entered 2020 alarmingly fractured and then a contentious election and staggering public health crisis only deepened our
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A Reason to Give

This year asked a lot of you—and you responded with generosity of spirit and resources. Over the course of the last several months, our community raised $5.2 million for Federation's

VIDEO – State of the Community: A Webinar with Federation CEO Gil Preuss

An engaging and encouraging discussion about the state of our community and Federation's work, with Federation CEO Gil Preuss and Heather Moran, CEO & Executive Director of Sixth & I.
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A Thanksgiving Message from Our CEO, Gil Preuss

Thanksgiving 2020 is going to feel very different, regardless of what our plans may look like. Even if we can safely see a few family members or friends, others will
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Weekly Reflection – November 6, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

As I write this, the results of the presidential election are crystallizing but remain unclear. We do not yet have an official call about the path our country will travel.
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Weekly Reflection – October 27, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Today, we remember the eleven people killed during the October 27, 2018 attack in Pittsburgh. I know the pain and horror of that day still feel very real. As Jews,
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Weekly Reflection – October 23, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Many of us will spend time in the next two weeks voting and volunteering, donating and discussing, all so that we might have an impact on the future of our
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Weekly Reflection – October 16, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

This has been a season of tending to immediate and short-term needs. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have joined with the Greater Washington Jewish community in raising and
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Weekly Reflection – October 9, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

The pandemic may have put some security issues on hold but, unfortunately, it has not decreased the need to remain proactive and vigilant against those who would do us harm.
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Weekly Reflection – October 2, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

We made it through the first-ever “remote” Yom Kippur. Some, like my daughter in Colorado, joined socially-distanced in-person services, but most of us observed the day at home, online. I
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Weekly Reflection – September 25, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

The Jewish people are a people of memory. As teacher and thinker Avraham Infeld describes, the Jewish experience is characterized not simply by history—learning about and recounting past events—but by
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Weekly Reflection – September 17, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Tomorrow, Jews around the world will pause our busy lives to greet the new Jewish year. Rosh Hashanah is a holiday layered with meaning, but at its core, it is
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Weekly Reflection – September 11, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Today, on the nineteenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, I begin this reflection with a remembrance of the thousands of lives lost on that tragic day. May their memories be
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Rhythms for a New Season

Each year, at the beginning of September, we tend to look back on the summer that was, already nostalgic for the long, happy days of relaxation. We feel renewed after
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Innovation & Ingenuity

As fall approaches and we increasingly recognize how different so many things are going to be this year, leaders across our community are asking: how can we reimagine what we
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Caring for our Community

There is no doubt this has been a challenging summer in Greater Washington. But I am optimistic about our future because I continue to see community members consistently and compassionately
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Weekly Reflection – July 31, 2020

Yesterday, we observed Tisha B’Av, a day reserved in the Hebrew calendar for solemn reflection. Traditionally, Jews spend this day fasting and mourning the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem
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Weekly Reflection – July 24, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve noticed an uptick in photos of freshly baked challah, newly planted gardens, and handmade crafts in my social media feeds. I have watched
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Weekly Reflection – July 17, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Many of my recent conversations with community members and leaders have focused on concerns about what this coming fall is going to look like. When the COVID-19 pandemic first began,
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Strengthening our Culture of Collaboration

Like many in our community, I recently crossed the threshold of 100 days spent mostly at home. These have not been easy days for our community as many people have
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Weekly Reflection – July 2, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

As we plan for what will certainly be a different kind of Fourth of July celebration than those of years past, I have been considering the work ahead, both for
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Finding Meaning in a Summer Without Jewish Camp

This week, my calendar reminded me to drop off my children at Jewish overnight camp. Every year, I look forward to this special ritual of taking one or more of
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Weekly Reflection – June 19, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

During the past three months, I have been reflecting on the ways the Jewish community is responding to these challenging and rapidly changing times. More specifically, I have wondered what
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Creating Communities of Belonging

Like many of you, I have been thinking, reading, and talking about race and racism quite frequently in recent days. Our country and communities continue to grapple with explicit and
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Weekly Reflection – June 5, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

As we wrap up a challenging week in a challenging season, it feels appropriate to pause and reflect on where we go from here as a community. I began this
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Reflecting on Values and Responsibilities

Over the past few months, I have written about the tendency to turn inward, to isolate in our homes and protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors from the threats
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Making Help Easy to Find

Nearly 800,000 people in Greater Washington have sought jobless benefits. Within the Jewish community, we have seen requests for interest-free loans increase by six-fold. People are searching for support when
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Weekly Reflection – May 22, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

There is a line in the Talmud that says in facing judgement, we will be asked to account for all the things we saw and did not eat (Kiddushin 48b).
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Coming Together in Common Purpose and Effective Action

This is the time when the rubber meets the road. For the past several years, those with an eye toward the future of the Jewish community have been underscoring the

From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

A Message from Our CEO, Gil Preuss: May 8, 2020

Two months into a new normal shaped by the coronavirus, we have learned how to live in quarantine, how to translate life in-person to life online, how to get up
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Strengthening What Sustains Us

A couple of years ago, I started toying with the question, what is the next big American Jewish project? It was clear by then that we had a crucial and

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Weekly Reflection – April 24, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

In many ways, our worlds have shrunk over the last few weeks. We are sticking close to home, keeping tabs on our circle of loved ones, and paying close attention
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Weekly Reflection – April 17, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Living as we are through a period that will undoubtedly be remembered in the history books, it might feel odd to set aside time to consider our past. But as
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Harnessing Our Social Ties for Good

This Passover will indeed be different than all others. In a few days, we will gather around physical and virtual seder tables to tell the story of the Exodus from
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Weekly Reflection – March 27, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

If there is anything that this pandemic has laid bare, it is how interdependent we are. Patients need healthcare workers. Restaurants need patrons. Students need teachers. People need friends, and
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Creating Community in a Time of Social Distancing

Historically, particularly in times of crisis, Jews turn to their synagogues and other spiritual gathering places to find solace and a sense of community. This is true for Americans of
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Weekly Reflection – March 13, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

In a recent article, Rabbi Reuven Fink of New Rochelle, NY wrote about the effect the coronavirus has had on him and his congregation. He described the many tough disruptions but
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Looking Ahead: Building Emotional Connections with Israel

This is part of a series of messages about the way we are thinking about our work in 2020 and beyond. This past week, Israel held its third parliamentary election
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Weekly Reflection – February 28, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

If we took a comprehensive look at the landscape of Jewish Greater Washington, we would recognize a plethora of stellar organizations—large, small, established, and burgeoning. In fact, many of us
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Looking Ahead to the Main Event

This is part of a series of messages about the way we are thinking about our work in 2020 and beyond. No conversation about the Jewish future would be complete
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Weekly Reflection – February 14, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is committed to building a vibrant, connected, and flourishing Jewish community. To achieve this vision, we are working closely with long-time partners and new
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Looking Ahead: The Essential Role of Jewish Education

This is part of a series of messages about the way we are thinking about our work in 2020 and beyond. A couple months ago, I read a paper that
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Weekly Reflection – January 31, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

For many people (though certainly not all), growing up Jewish meant being a passive consumer of something that felt beyond our grasp. Knowledge of Jewish texts, history, and tradition remained
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Looking Ahead: The Next Chapter in Inclusion

This is part of a series of messages about the way we are thinking about our work in 2020 and beyond. At The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, we are
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Looking Ahead: Shining a Spotlight on Seniors

This is part of a series of messages about the way we are thinking about our work in 2020 and beyond.   To describe Jewish Greater Washington’s seniors is to describe a cohort
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Weekly Reflection – January 3, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

It feels odd to start the new year speaking of anger and frustration, but I know that is what many of us are feeling in light of the recent anti-Semitic
Looking Ahead: Engaging Millennials at a New Life Stage

Looking Ahead: Engaging Millennials at a New Life Stage

This is the first in a series of messages about the way we are thinking about our work in 2020 and beyond. It was the poet Mark Strand who said,
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Our Added Value

I often meet with potential donors as part of my capacity as CEO. During both informal and formal meetings, I do my best to communicate the unique role Federation plays
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Weekly Reflection – December 6, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

Jewish tradition is known for its multitude of opinions and its complex, consequential, and utterly fascinating debates. For thousands of years, our ability to disagree with each other has been
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Weekly Reflection – December 20, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

We continue to see a frightening pattern of anti-Semitic violence nationally and globally. From Williamsburg to Berlin, campus quads to synagogues to halls of power, we have watched with grief
Carrying the Torch of Jewish Community

Carrying the Torch of Jewish Community

As my family prepares for Thanksgiving and my kids prepare to journey home from their various posts, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to pass on
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Weekly Reflection – November 22, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the many ways you have helped guide our community and our organization this year.
A New Approach to Communal Progress

A New Approach to Communal Progress

This week, I dove into the topic of Jewish engagement while also being highly engaged myself. For three days, I joined hundreds of Jewish professionals for the first-ever FedLab conference, put on by The Jewish Federations of
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Weekly Reflection – November 8, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

I believe that whatever the Jewish future may look like, it is going to be shaped by those with a passion for Jewish community. It is no coincidence that some
Strengthening a Global Jewish Community in a Changing World

Strengthening a Global Jewish Community in a Changing World

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Board of Governors meeting. During our time together, we discussed the many ways the organization is evolving
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Weekly Reflection – October 25, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

Nearly one year ago, 11 innocent people were murdered at the Tree of Life building in Pittsburgh. As we approach this solemn day, The Jewish Federation and the JCRC remain
Community and Collective Memory

Community and Collective Memory

On October 27, we will mark one year since the horrifying attack on the congregations at the Tree of Life building in Pittsburgh. It is a moment that will live
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Weekly Reflection – October 4, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

I want to take this opportunity to say G'mar Chatima Tova (may you be inscribed in the book of life) and share with you what I wrote in this week’s Federation 5: Including
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Weekly Reflection – September 27, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

Our community can be pretty self-critical. We like to talk about all the things we could be doing better or differently and hash out all the ways we could be
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The Future is Ours to Create

In a few weeks, soon after we welcome the Jewish New Year, we will scroll to the very beginning of the Torah and read about the story of creation. We
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Weekly Reflection – September 13, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

In a few days, Israelis will go to the polls to vote in the country’s second general election in just six months. Many of us—across all generations—care deeply about the
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Synagogues are Vital to the Jewish Future

In a few weeks, many of us will gather at our local synagogues to usher in the Jewish New Year and observe the High Holidays. We will be inspired to
A message from our CEO

Weekly Reflection – August 23, 2019

As I have written about previously, American Jews continue to enjoy many of the greatest privileges and protections this country and the world have to offer. And yet, tragic attacks
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Weekly Reflection – August 16, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

Earlier this month, I published an article in eJewish Philanthropy responding to two thoughtful pieces about the evolution of power and influence in the Jewish community. My focus is less about where influence lies and

Where We Go from Here: A Statement from Gil Preuss on the Recent Mass Shootings

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington joins the entire Jewish community in mourning the victims of recent mass shooting attacks in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio. In
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Weekly Reflection – August 2, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

We are approaching the saddest day of the year on the Jewish calendar. Tisha B’Av comes at the end of a three-week period of mourning and marks the date of several disasters
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Weekly Reflection – July 26, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

This week, my daughter returned home from overnight, Jewish summer camp. For those with pre-teens and teenagers in the house, you know what a whirlwind of energy and excitement (and
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Weekly Reflection – July 19, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

Decentralization is a central theme of this century. Within the Jewish community, as well as on stages local, national, and global, we are seeing the breakdown of institutions and the
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Weekly Reflection – July 12, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

I have written to you recently about Federation’s strategic plan, our core priorities, and some of the ways that we are bringing our strategy to life. A key component of
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What We Can Do for Democracy

I recently returned from an extended family trip to Italy. Beyond the beauty of the countryside and the amazing food and art, two particular moments struck me. At the Great
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Weekly Reflection – June 14, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

I must admit that I am troubled by the nature of discourse about Israel these days. An issue that used to unite us is now seen as one that divides
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Stepping Up in a New Era

Last night, more than 450 community members gathered for Federation’s Homecoming event. People were smiling, laughing, talking—in the room were people of all ages and backgrounds there to connect and
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Weekly Reflection – May 31, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

It is interesting to think about how we celebrate different Jewish holidays over time. Frequently, the nature of our celebration reflects an evolving Jewish history and changes in the Jewish
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From Ideas to Effective Action

Earlier this spring, I wrote to you about Federation’s first-ever Pitch Night. Nearly 50 organizations gathered to share 68 innovative ideas for engaging the next generation in Jewish life and
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A Country and a Homeland

“Well-meaning people used to say that a Jewish state would be an answer to all Jewish questions. In truth, however, the State of Israel is a challenge to many of
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Weekly Reflection – May 3, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

Six months ago, after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, I wrote to you about the heartache we felt and the questions we faced as a community. In
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Celebrating the Past and Looking to the Future: A Message from Gil Preuss

Coretta Scott King once said, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” Over the course of several decades, many thousands of
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The Impact of Jewish Learning: A Message from Gil Preuss

Passover is one of my favorite Jewish holidays. Part of the power of Passover—apart from the warm embrace of matzo ball soup and that divine brisket—is its timeless relevance. In
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Israel All Ways: A Message from Gil Preuss

Shalom! I am writing to you from Amsterdam, where the pre-trip to Federation’s Israel YOUR Way Mission is just underway. On Monday, we travel to Israel for the formal start
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Our Moment in Time: A Message from Gil Preuss

Last night, I was thrilled to join more than 600 people at Federation’s Main Event. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect, schmooze, and touch base with longtime supporters and
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To Birthright Israel and Beyond: A Message from Gil Preuss

It is one thing to talk about a sense of connection to Israel. It is a whole other thing to experience it. That is the premise behind Birthright Israel trips.
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Disability Advocacy and Our Potential to Effect Change: A Message from Gil Preuss

Our tradition teaches us that we must each uphold the dignity of others. The seemingly simple idea that everyone is created in the image of God has played a profound
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From Family to Fellow Believers: A Message from Gil Preuss

Two weeks ago, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Congregational Shlichim Program was honored by The Jewish Agency for Israel. The program, which places Israeli young adults in schools, synagogues,
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Setting the Wheels in Motion: A Message from Gil Preuss

We are only a few days into the new year, and already I find myself wondering how the future will unfold. What iconic moments will make their way into our
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Marking the Occasion: A Message from Gil Preuss

“I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks.” - William Shakespeare I want to say thank you. Thank you for being an integral
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Investing in a Brighter Communal Future: A Message from Gil Preuss

Chanukah is a holiday of many lessons. It reminds us to persevere despite the odds and to stand up for what we believe in. It also reminds us that when
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I Am Thankful for You: A Message from Gil Preuss

“How strange we are in the world, and how presumptuous our doings! Only one response can maintain us: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of our unearned right
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Who We Want to Be: A Message from Gil Preuss

In a few days, we will have the opportunity to celebrate the start of a new year and once again reflect on the many ways we can narrow the gap between our actions and our
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Building Community & Civic Life: A July 4th Message from Gil Preuss

The topics of community and responsibility come up often in my conversations and have been at the forefront of our work in defining the role Federation can and should play
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What Brings Us Together: A Message from Gil Preuss

Since last August, when I began as CEO of The Jewish Federation, I have enjoyed getting to know hundreds and hundreds of people across DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia. The

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Making our Voices Heard: A Message from our CEO

It’s no secret that Greater Washington is home to thousands of committed, generous and passionate people – those who lead by example, who stand strong in their convictions and who
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[email protected]: A Personal Reflection from Our CEO

When I was a child growing up in Jerusalem in the early 1970s, Israel was a very different place than the one we know today. It was, in many ways,
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The Gift of the Passover Seder: A Message from Our CEO

As we prepare to begin our Passover celebrations this evening, I am reminded of a quote by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov that feels especially pertinent today. "The Exodus from Egypt,”

Network Event: Remarks from CEO, Gill Preuss

Good evening everyone and thank you for coming. Before moving on, Let’s pause for a moment and think about what we just saw….a Jewish preschool, teachers, classmates, and parents, all

The Conversations We Need to Be Having: A Message from Our CEO

This is conference season in the Jewish community. Many organizations will be holding major events and meetings, and important business will get done. I’ve attended hundreds of these gatherings and
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Announcing the 2017 Greater Washington Jewish Community Demographic Study

“The mission of Jewish leaders in the 21st century should be how to ensure the continued, significant renaissance of the Jewish people, ensuring a sense of belonging by every Jew