Leading The Way
Annual Campaign leaders and Board of Governors mem-
community is only as good or as strong as the
bers. Against that backdrop, the New Leaders' Project
people who lead it. So I'm glad to hear Detroit
lights the path to the inner circle of young lead-
Jewry is reviving its New Leaders' Project.
as a community, so desperately need to link the
Homegrown talent not only has led us over
and sustain our continuity.
the years, but also has helped catapult Detroiters into the
With growing threats from assimilation, intermarriage,
national communal spotlight, beginning decades ago with
apathy and anti-Semitism, we more than ever require new
our beloved patriarch, Max Fisher of Franklin.
leaders who are steadfast in their commitment to exciting
The New Leaders' Project, begun in 1996, is a yearlong
us about our heritage — from our history to our rituals to
program for young adults eager to tighten their ties to
Judaism and social justice as well as develop their leader-
program's 51 previous graduates validate the New
ship skills. Seventeen of the brightest stars in our firma-
Project as a gateway to developing new leaders.
ment of potential young leaders are
enrolled in the program's first class follow-
Showing The Way
ing a three-year hiatus caused by lack of
If we indeed lead by example, then Federation and the
The impetus behind the program is the
Council chose well in naming Gary Torgow the scholar-in-
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit
residence for the opening retreat of the Class of 2002-
and its public affairs voice, the Jewish
2003. A civic, political and community activist and devout
Community Council. As the impetus, they
Jew from Oak Park, he'll no doubt set a positive example
also shoulder the burden — and
at the weekend retreat, Friday-Sunday, Oct. 18-20,
ROBERT A. the responsibility — to deliver on
at Butzel Conference Center in Ortonville.
the promise of opening the gates
Commanding respect as a thinker and a doer, .
for another graduating class of
Torgow is president of Yeshiva Beth Yehudah,
vibrant new leaders.
Michigan's largest Jewish day school, and chairman
"I believe that one of the greatest responsibilities
of the Sterling Group, a land development, invest-
and challenges facing the community is building
ment and management firm that's co-developing
for the future and bringing the message of social
Campus Martius in downtown Detroit. Torgow
justice and community service to our young peo-
chairs both the Michigan Civil Rights Commission
ple," says Council President Ann Zousmer.
and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.
And I agree.
Over the coming year, our emerging leaders will
The cost of $20,000 to revive the New Leaders'
meet twice a month to explore how Jewish values
Project comes partly from contributions honoring
intersect with social justice. The group will study the eco-
Detroiter Elaine Driker as the Council's 2002 Activist of
nomic, political, social and historical forces that define
the Year. The Federation, the privately adminis-
metro Detroit. They will get to know Jewish and
tered Bernard Maas Foundation and the Jewish
other leaders to identify pivotal, pressing issues.
Council for Public Affairs also have contributed.
And they will do community service work.
Each participant pays $200.
Ideally, this fourth class of leaders-in-training will
Many past graduates are board members and
recognize the community's greatest needs and build
activists in the community. They're leaders in
the coalitions necessary to fulfill them. They'll be
Jewish and secular causes, especially those assisting
frontline players in the unrelenting battle to make
the city of Detroit, where Jewish roots go back
this community the best it can be.
Alumnus Dan Friedenzohn heads the New
Project advisory committee. His 1998-
Elain e Driker
1999 experience; he says, "reaffirmed nay conviction
to being involved not only in the Jewish communi-
The beauty of the New Leaders' Project lies in the
the greater community."
diversity of the participants. This year's field includes
"It opened the door," the. Farmington Hills attorney says,
lawyers, analysts, a civil engineer, a marketing director, a
"to different opportunities that might be available in the
teacher and other professionals.
schools, government, business, redevelopment, interfaith. It
Zousmer says each member of "this new class of Jewish
exposed me to so many different avenues where you can
activists" has "made an important commitment to both
personal and professional growth.
really opened my eyes."
"Participation in the New Leaders' Project," she says,
— who spurred reintroduction of the project
"will give these young adults the background, the passion
when so many admirers gave cash tributes for her Activist
and the resources for vital leadership in our community."
of the Year honor — is awestruck that her passion for
National observers marvel that we're only the 11th
believing in civic duty and Jewish ideals will influence so
largest Jewish community yet the fourth largest in giving
many leaders-to-be. She'll speak at the October retreat.
per capita. Many of our educational, service and social-
As she puts it: "It gives me hope that through the Class
action programs have proven worth emulating.
2002-2003's efforts, we will move closer to being a com-
Leadership is a key to our success. We've ably replenished
that celebrates our differences and works together
the pool of leaders throughout the past 103 years of organ-
an environment in which all of us can find satis-
ized Jewish philanthropy in the Detroit area. But leader-
faction and fulfillment."
ship is a fragile thing. Clearly, it's better to groom new
Time will tell just how well our new leaders help us
leaders than hope they'll just appear.
such a fruitful environment. But the prospects are
Each year, Federation presents a series of young leader-
ship awards as part of its concerted effort to develop
271 WEST MAPLE