What was New Jersey like?

There was one moment the other day…

I was grateful to say a few words of welcome to the participants in the 2016 Diller Teen Fellows Professional and Lay Leaders Conference. The meeting brought to Greater MetroWest 150 individuals from 32 communities around the world who are actively involved in running this amazing program. They had representatives from Israel, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, and the U.K.  This inspiring group of young professionals comes together each year to share insights and best practices and, by doing so, improve the experience for all the teens involved.

I talked for a few minutes about our community: who we are, what Greater MetroWest looks like demographically, and what our challenges and successes are like.

And then I asked all those who had never been to New Jersey before to stand up. It was about half the room.

Walking around with a hand-held microphone, I asked them one question.

“In a day or a couple of days,” I said, “you’re going home. And when you get home, someone is going to ask you the following question: ‘What was New Jersey like?’”

I asked it deliberately. Having moved here nearly ten years ago I still keep noting how diverse, beautiful, and green New Jersey is. How stunning the fall foliage is. How New Jersey truly does live up to its nickname of the Garden State.

As I expected, the responses I received from them were all along those lines. They were all pleasantly surprised at how hospitable we were… how colorful and beautiful autumn is here… how lush and hilly the landscape is.

I’m glad that the Diller professional and lay leaders came here to see our Federation building. But I’m also really glad that they saw the best of New Jersey too.


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