Weekly Reflection – September 27, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

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 stronger if only we did this or that. No doubt our frustrations are rooted in some truth. We can always be doing more to assess the gaps in our work, thinking more creatively about new efforts, engaging more people in programming, and working smarter to meet the needs of our community.

And yet, while there is always more to do on this front, I also want to emphasize one particular area, collaboration, where much work is already underway.

During Federation’s board meeting last week, we were pleased to feature a panel of professionals who are partnering to engage the next generation of Jews with Jewish life. Among them were Heather Moran, CEO of Sixth & I, and Rabbi Josh Beraha of Temple Micah. The two organizations are collaborating closely as Sixth & I provides space for Temple Micah’s innovative Storefront initiative. Sparked by funding from Federation’s Impact & Innovation grants process, this collaboration will enable both organizations to extend their reach among young Jews in our area.

As I have previously shared, engaging the next generation is a strategic priority that no one entity will be able to achieve alone. We are excited to see how many organizations—from legacy institutions to brand-new ventures—are turning to each other in pursuit of this shared goal.

Just as importantly, we are also seeing the impact of collaboration on our community’s human service work. For example, JSSA places mental healthcare professionals on a rotating basis with organizations within and outside of the Jewish community. Synagogues, day schools, senior centers, physician offices, community colleges, and others can offer their constituents greater access to counseling and support thanks to JSSA’s partnership.

The work that Greater Washington’s human service agencies do day in and day out is essential to the wellbeing of our community. We are proud to see a broad spectrum of direct-service organizations coming together to explore innovative ways to reach more people in need.

I am also encouraged by the collaboration happening at every level of Jewish communal work. Institutions, agencies, synagogues, and startups are partnering together on joint projects. Others are seeking out their counterparts and swapping advice, ideas, and lessons learned. And others still are sharing research, tools, and resources to further respective efforts. Each of these different forms of partnership is bringing organizations closer to achieving their missions.

And so, as we step into 5780, I hope we do so with a sense of optimism. We should continue holding ourselves to the highest possible standards. Our community must continue growing, evolving, and expanding our capacity for innovation and collaboration. But just as importantly, I also think that we can take stock of all the amazing work going on around us and feel proud of just how much we are accomplishing today.

The momentum toward change is in our favor. Now let’s go build on it.

Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova,