My Birthday Top Ten

Today’s my birthday. I’m a year older and quite possibly a little wiser. I hope.

This past year I became CEO of our federation. I’ve seen some amazing things, and I’ve learned more than I ever thought possible.

Here’s my top ten list of what I’ve learned this past year:

  1. When the moment of truth arrives, we step up. We don’t leave anyone behind. In Ukraine, in France, in Israel. I’ve been CEO for six months now and I’ve seen three successful emergency campaigns, all backed by an annual campaign that refutes the big lie: every now and then people will tell you that Jews don’t care any more about the world, about others, about global community. It ain’t so. I saw that this last year.
  2. Building a strong Jewish federation isn’t just about time, energy, and commitment. It’s also about good fundraising. Good fundraising is the engine for everything because it sets the tone and the passion for who we are.
  3. We’re not out to raise dollars. We’re out to raise Jews. There’s a correlation, but it’s not the same thing.
  4. Raising Jews means raising a community. And we need a passionate, inspired federation to work with our agencies, schools, and synagogues to lift us all up.
  5. A healthy Jewish community needs a proud, respected, and appreciated Jewish communal workforce. We have amazing, inspiring, hard-working professionals…and we need to continually find ways to thank and reward them. In federation, in our agencies, in our synagogues.
  6. Professionals don’t do a thing without great lay leaders. And great lay leaders are made, not born. So we should invest in them every step of the way.
  7. Better to try and fail than not try at all. Especially if you tweet while you do it.
  8. Social media (including this blog)* are great. But they’re not going to make the real change. Relationships count.
  9. Change is hard. But stagnation is worse.
  10. It’s all about storytelling.


*Especially this blog.

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