Our senior management team finally got away this week for a two-day retreat. It’s the first time we’ve actually done this, so it was important to get everyone together, away from the office. We were helped by our colleagues in the Jewish Federations of North America, especially Elissa Maier, Vice President of the Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence.

One of the areas we focused on was the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of what we do. We can condense our mission statement down to its essence – we care, we build, we save – and we have a great and passionate leadership. But how do we prioritize what we do? What’s more important? And are some things “more” important than others?

We’re not going to solve this yet. Maybe we shouldn’t ever solve it. But it’s a useful conversation to have on any level, because it helps us think through what’s important and why we do it.

So here is my list. It’s not our federation list – we don’t have one. I hope we’ll make one at some point down the line. But I needed it for my own sense of a list of priorities.

  1. Protect the Jewish vulnerable.
  2. Live Israel. (“live” as a verb, not a noun)
  3. Support affordable and accessible Jewish life here in our community.
  4. Build Jewish community through promoting Jewish culture, education and identity
  5. Deepen our commitment to Tikun Olam and the wider community

We don’t get enough opportunities to grapple with these big Jewish ideas. One of the initiatives we’re launching shortly – the Guardians – will include platforms for venture philanthropy, community concierges, and our “Big Jewish Idea” initiative. If you’re interested in taking part, keep watching this blog and our federation website and social media.

Because a strong vibrant Jewish community needs you.

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