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July 14, 2011 - Image 52

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-07-14

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points of view

Josh's Challenge from page 43

Loss, but let there be no doubt: Levine
earned his temple board appointment
based on his record of community ser-
vice and professional expertise.
Levine credits his parents — Berna,
a retired public school administrator,
and Noah, about to retire from the
Jewish Federation of Atlanta after 30
years — with showing him "where I
wanted or needed to go rather than
directing me on every single step."
"This allowed for empowerment
and optimal growth, which has led to
a lot of great success for me over the
years;' Levine said.
He extends a big hug to his wife not
only for her "love, support and amaz-
ing ability to multitask," but also for
loving our Jewish community "just as
much as I do."

At The Helm
I like the challenges Levine presented
to his officers and executive board
("Don't wait for things to happen
around you. Take the initiative to help
continue to move our organization for-
ward") and to his board ("Be a contrib-
utor, not a bystander. Be active in your
role as a board member and active as a
Jewish community leader"). He's saying
it takes time, passion and creativity to
be an ambassador for YAD, Federation
and our Jewish community; you don't
lead from the sidelines.
In his remarks, Levine spotlighted
Federation's CommunityNEXT pro-
gram for 20-somethings hungry for
Jewish community events to mingle
with peers outside the development
borders of YAD. In a later interview,
he said YAD and CommunityNEXT
would work together more closely.
Details will be rolled out soon, he
said, "but I can tell you the efforts of
YAD and CommunityNEXT are defi-
nitely being coordinated."
In a wide-ranging interview at the
IN on June 14, Federation CEO Scott
Kaufman confirmed that YAD and
CommunityNEXT would merge to help
trim costs. The end result would be an
entrepreneurial structure with over-
sight, cooperation and teamwork as
well as a strategy to make the new pro-
gram bigger, more relevant and more
inviting with, of course, a fundraising
component. A successful merger with
staying power would represent a pil-
lar in the communal struggle to really
engage young adults in both leadership
development and social activities.

Levine Sightlines
When I asked Levine about YAD presi-
dential initiatives, he suggested, among
several bullet points, that he and his
board would spotlight five objectives


July 14 • 2011


with the aid of 18 task forces: increase
social media use, increase the YAD
database, increase YAD involvement,
increase the number of donors and
increase the Annual Campaign con-
tribution. What I liked most about his
response was this not-insignificant
note: "We are still working on spe-
cific quantifiable metrics." Too many
organizational objectives, however
well-intended, go begging for lack of a
meaningful way to gauge results.
Levine promises expanding the
already premier local social event for
Jewish young adults, Lathe Vodka, to
well more than 500 attendees.
He also envisions a "prestigious"
donor event to honor YAD top giv-
ers. Please, Josh, make sure the event
also acknowledges smaller givers to
underscore that any gift is important
to building unity of purpose, while
certainly big gifts from better-posi-
tioned givers furnish the support tim-
bers for an exceptional campaign.
YAD doesn't operate in a com-
munal vacuum, and the board is well
aware of that. That's evidenced by the
community-events task force it created
to strengthen partnerships with other
Jewish community organizations.
As our young adult base dwindles
and our economy tries to rebound from
a freefall,YAD faces an arduous year
that still boasts lots of potential for pos-
itive excitement if it can make the most
of partnering — of consolidating and
sharing ideas, planning and resources.
YAD board member Rachel Wright
of Birmingham recently received
Federation's Mark Family Young
Leadership Award. She knows the
ever-approachable Levine well and
buys into his engaging philosophy.
"Having had a glimpse of Josh's
vision for the future of YAD," she told
the 11 ■ T, "it is clear Josh understands the
importance of his responsibility of lead-
ership as incorporating all young volun-
teers as part of the same, equal team ! )
Certainly, teamwork is what will
assure YAD reaches new heights
rather than crash lands during these
daunting demographic times.
With Josh Levine at the helm, the
presidency of YAD is in good hands.
But he's smart enough to know it
takes the vigor of excellent officers
and board members — and a sup-
portive wife — to achieve ultimate
success from the presidential hot seat.
As he put it at the annual meeting,
"I've been asked the same question over
and over the past few months: `Josh, with
all that you have going on and coming
up, how can you take on this role?'
"The answer is simple: I won't be
doing anything on my own:"

Allan Gale, right, in Jerusalem with

Raanan Kahani, consul in Israel's

Ministry of North American Affairs


Israeli Tapestry

Pilgrimage proves part fact-finding,
part sobering and part energizing.

I marveled at the Carmel Tunnels – the
underground highway bored through
Mount Carmel in Haifa to reduce travel
ast month I traveled to Israel for
time around that mountain and the
my 13th, or "bar mitzvah," trip
congestion of central Haifa – that had
to the Jewish homeland. I fol-
opened to the public late last year. I
lowed an itinerary with both personal and
walked along with thousands in a usually
professional components, traveling the
deserted late-night Old City of Jerusalem
country from Tel Aviv to Haifa, Jerusalem,
during the third annual Jerusalem
Netanya and Hadera by train, bus, taxi and
Festival of Lights art show. And I shopped
sherut (shared taxi).
in the Machane Yehuda
open air market, expe-
riencing a singular but
powerful one-day (Friday)
"economic engine" in cen-
Jerusalem, evidenced
as an enormous crowd of
Israelis and tourists slowly
snaked through the narrow
DESTROY US'y aisles to purchase wine,
challah, flowers and other
essentials for the impend-
ing Shabbat.
I was impressed by the
growth of Israeli cities –
Haifa's suburbs now almost
reach a kibbutz to the east
where I had volunteered
(there previously were
several kilometers of sepa-
ration between the two).
Jerusalem and its sub-
urbs grow ever larger as
does Tel Aviv. I witnessed
Israelis rushing, pushing,
sweating and hollering, but
also enjoying life with their
families at parks, pedes-
trian walks, malls and res-

I Allan Gale


Dry Bones



Tapestry on page 45

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