Join Me at the Annual Meeting

It is transition time, isn’t it? It’s the time of year when we make changes, move on to new challenges, recognize achievements and accomplishments, and look ahead to new goals. No, this isn’t a column about Katie Couric, Meredith Viera, or Ann Curry. Instead, I want to focus on some wonderful (although slightly less public than these news stars) women and one good man.


It’s a time of personal transition for two young women in my family. One of our nieces graduates from high school this spring, and our daughter will graduate from college this weekend. We are very proud of them and look forward to all that they will have to offer to the world. It’s hard to believe that we will have no one left in college, which is actually a transition for me. Those of us who are mothers of offspring in school, whether elementary, middle or high school, college or university, have an app that runs constantly in the background of our minds: when is spring vacation? Did I submit all the forms? When is back-to-school night (and for which child?)? It’s time to shut down that app and activate the one that’s called “let them figure it out.” Easier said than done, right Mom?


I was also proud to watch a transition take place last week at the helm of National Women’s Philanthropy (NWP), the board of women from across the federation movement who serve as leaders, trainers, and catalysts for women’s campaigns. The NWP Board is actively committed to bringing best practices to our local campaigns, training top leaders for the future of our federations and our national system, and to both widening and raising the tent to include women of all giving levels. NWP also urges all of us to give our best gifts to our campaigns, which do so much good here, in Israel, and around the world. We saluted the indefatigable Linda Adler Hurwitz for her two years as NWP chair and welcomed the promise of the youngest ever NWP Chair, Gail Norry. We also recognized our own Lori Klinghoffer, who has served with great distinction as both NWP chair and president over the last four years, but more about her later. Although not as hard as seeing myself as a mom without a school schedule, it was still a little sad to think that I only have two more years on the NWP Board, as it has been another wonderful experience that my MetroWest community has given me.


I came home from the NWP Board meetings, set down my suitcase, and put on my party clothes to attend one of the best nights of the MetroWest year, Spring Fling, jointly sponsored by Young Leadership Division and Young Women’s Campaign. This year we honored Dana Lichtenberg and Alia Ramer as the recipients of the Julius and Bessie Cohn Young Leadership Award. Alia and Dana spoke movingly and compellingly about how and why they are so committed to our community.


I learn so much from Dana and Alia every day. Their blogs and Facebook posts make me laugh out loud, shed tears often, and brighten every day. Although the Cohn Award doesn’t seem like a transition, it is. I reminded Dana and Alia that the Cohn Award isn’t given for past achievements, it is given because those past achievements demonstrate the belief that the awardees will go on to do even more for this community. Dana and Alia are now counted among the leadership of MetroWest, young or not, and I know they will take us to new heights.


And finally, we come to the last transitional moment of my spring. Please join me and my co-chair, Scott Krieger, on Wednesday, May 25, at the Annual Meeting of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ, at 7 p.m. at the Aidekman Family Campus in Whippany. In addition to conducting the business of the Federation and recognizing and celebrating our agencies who do the work of our hands every day, we will be honoring Gary Aidekman for his three years of outstanding service as UJC president and welcoming Lori Klinghoffer as our new president. 


I’ve had the honor of working with Gary in various capacities in the life of our Federation. He has taken on the difficult and challenging topics that have faced our community without hesitation. He is a man of few words who can compel others to action with those words. Gary’s concern for helping Jews understand the need to support Jewish causes has started a very important conversation in this community and I know he will keep that conversation going. I look forward to thanking him in person next week at the meeting.


Lori and I have been all over the Jewish globe together, from numerous trips to Israel, to Ethiopia, Poland, and the Ukraine. Although I will never come close to her skill with a camera, she has taught me the value of bringing the picture of what we do home to others. She has proven to be a valued leader in the national federation movement. W are fortunate in being able to go from one strong leader in our local community to another on May 25. 


I wish you joy in any transitions in your life and look forward to seeing you on May 25 at the Annual Meeting!


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