A New Direction — Greater MetroWest

How do we learn to get to a new destination? Maps, GPS, GoogleMaps, written directions, and turn-by-turn on a smartphone all are ways to get us from point A to point B.

 

But how do we really learn the way? How do we mentally note the landmarks that tell us where to turn, when we are halfway there, what to do if there is traffic or a detour? It takes time, patience, experience, and motivation.

 

When I first moved to South Orange, getting to Whippany and the Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus seemed like driving to the moon. Over time, I've learned the myriad routes between my house and the campus.

 

I know that it will take me a minimum of 35 minutes during the morning or evening rush hours, although during the middle of the day, it can take as little as 20 minutes. I can take South Orange Avenue or Route 24 to Route 287 to Route 10. I know how to maneuver the back roads of East Hanover. I also know when to give up and call into the meeting if I get stuck somewhere. Now it's not like getting to the moon, it's more like getting to my second home. I'm motivated to get there because I want to be present. I have the patience to sit in traffic because my experience has taught me that the journey is worthwhile.

 

Over the last two years, I've had the extraordinary experience of learning how to get to a new destination. As part of the merger committee that has worked on creating the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ out of the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey and United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ, I've had the literal experience of learning how to get to meetings at the Wilf Jewish Community Campus in Scotch Plains.

 

Much more importantly, I've had the opportunity to be a part of the journey that has led us to this historic merger, the largest merger of two active federations in the history of the organized North American Jewish community.

 

And it has surely taken time, patience, experience, and motivation. We've been at this for about two years, starting under the presidencies of Gary Aidekman from MetroWest and Gerry Cantor from Central. We have been patient, allowing time for thought leaders, agencies, committees, and synagogues to share their thoughts, suggestions, and concerns. 

 

We have had the benefit of many kinds of experience. We looked back to the merger of the Metropolitan Essex and Morris-Sussex federations. We utilized the wisdom of the seasoned statesmen/women of our two communities, which is considerable and which has consistently been optimistic and supportive. We have much practical expertise from the worlds of business, law, and marketing. Without this vast body of experience from which to draw, I'm not sure we would be as close to the finish line as we are. 

 

Over and over again, it was motivation that kept us on track. We have been motivated by the vision of a Greater MetroWest. We see all of the possibilities, synergies, and opportunities that we believe can be brought to fruition because of our common commitment to helping Jews in need and to strengthening Jewish community. 

 

Now it is time for all of us to be a part of the journey to somewhere new, whether physically or mentally. And yes, that will still require time, patience, experience, and motivation. Having gone a little bit ahead on this road, I am able to tell you that from what I have seen, we are going in a wonderful direction that will lead to great things for Greater MetroWest.

 

Wishing b'chatzlacha (strength) to us all as we forge ahead.

 

Leslie

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