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April 19, 2012 - Image 29

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-04-19

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At Tribefest 2012


Photos cour tesy NEXTGen Detroit

rtes fu

el e


Ariana Blumenfeld of Berkley displays the Jewish

Erica Riba and Emily Silver, both of Ann Arbor, Becca

Federation of Metropolitan Detroit's poster that

Steinman of Flint, Tamara Steinman of Flint and Sari

showcases the Olde English D of the Tigers.

Gordon of West Bloomfield huddle.

National co-chairs Jason Rubinoff of Toronto and

Rachel Wright of Birmingham rally the throng at

Sheldon Adelson's Venetian resort and casino.

Our Jewish Future from page 28

generation of community leaders"). He
talked with gusto about how it takes time,
passion and creativity to be an ambas-
sador for YAD, Federation and our Jewish
community — about how you don't lead
from the sidelines.
Following the EPIC Event, Levine talked
about changing how we as a community
commit to inspiring young adults to come
together to celebrate and
express their Judaism
and Jewish ideals.
In reading JN coverage
of the epic experience at
the MGM Grand Detroit,
I was struck by what
NEXTGen President
Marty Maddin said: "The
Marty Maddin
EPIC Event was an abso-
lute home run — and
further proof that young Jewish Detroit is
alive and full of possibility:'
Therein lies the core takeaway from that
notable evening: It was full of possibility. It
certainly gave flight to what could be done
with a united young-adult legion helping
clear the obstructive brush and bollards.
No one is understating the epic achieve-
ment. But neither should anyone think it
was an end point. The hard work is now at
hand. Federation leaders say they'll com-
mit the resources — namely, the time and
money — to secure the investment neces-
sary to, as Federation President Douglas
Bloom put it, "bring into the fold the
young people of Metro Detroit."

Valuable Support Beams
Meanwhile, the IN held a March 28 party
in Birmingham for 200 people, many from
the generation that NEXTGen Detroit
speaks to, to mark the first anniversary of
Red Thread, the edgy, monthly supplement
geared to that demographic.

Red Thread plays an important transfor-
mative role in reshaping the narrative about
the Jewish community and Metro Detroit. Its
focus is on younger adults, but Red Thread
also serves as a generational bridge, provid-
ing their parents and grandparents with a
glimpse at how they work, play and engage
with each other and the general community
"Similarly, because Red Thread is a
part of the Jewish News, younger readers
remain connected to the news and events
that impact the broader Jewish commu-
nity;' JN Publisher Arthur Horwitz said.
"This platform complements the growing
number of initiatives that are helping to
redefine Detroit as a great place to live,
and a great place to live Jewishly"
Another prime example of young-
adult engagement is Torah on Tap (TOT),
served up by Federation's YAD. The aim is
to reach out to young professionals with
a program "that is fun and social while
also providing good Jewish knowledge
and identity in a non-threatening envi-
ronment:' said TOT director Rabbi Leiby
Burnham of Southfield-based Yeshiva
Beth Yehuda.
"We launched TOT with the philosophy
that when young people are not going
to synagogues or other places of Jewish
learning, we need to go to them:'
TOT has grown from 12 attendees five
years ago to up to 115 per event thanks
in part to an anonymous donation that
helped extend the reach. Typical atten-
dance at the 10 yearly events is near 80.
"The buzz in the community about TOT
is great:' Burnham said, "and every time
we do one, we see some new faces!'

The Way Forward
Bolstered by those and other companion
communal building blocks, the EPIC Event
was a prelude to something special. It was

the beginning of guaranteeing our Jewish
gic NEXTGen plan that looks not only a
future. Electric as it was, the next step and year ahead, but also three and five years
other follow-up ultimately will be more
out. Short-range accomplishments won't
pivotal to assuring our Annual Campaign,
endure without a long-term vision with
which commands national stature for its
benchmarks of opportunity.
per-capita prowess, has a community-
Jewish Detroit is one of America's great
focused corps of young donors to obliter-
Jewish communities. Its future certainly
ate seams in fundraising.
clings to restructuring our Federation into
To that end, NEXTGen has debriefed
a sustainable model. Ideally, that model
with table hosts and updated its database
would capture the best of our chief plan-
to keep all EPIC participants abreast of
ning and fundraising agency while replen-
NEXTGen events, Annual Campaign news
ishing young leaders and donors so there's
and our collective Jewish future.
still a Jewish community to build up from,
To cultivate young leadership, the
enjoy and take pride in.
NEXTGen transition
plan agenda includes
drilling into the ideas
and dreams of YAD/
NEXTGen leaders as
well as developing
a board to critically
shape the direction of
NEXTGen. Newcomers
identified through the
EPIC Event will be invit-
ed to the January 2013
version of Entree, the
YAD leadership develop-
ment program.
From a Campaign
standpoint, adds
YAD director Jessica
Goodwin, "We are mak-
ing personal phone calls
to everyone who did
not make a pledge at
the EPIC Event to invite
them to 'Step Forward'
to support our com-
Unmistakably, the
Detroit Jewish commu-
nity would benefit in a
big way from a strate-

Dry Bones






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