Meet NEXTGen Detroit

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First annual meeting lays out vision for engaging young Jews in the community.

President-Elect Rachel Wright of Birmingham and incoming President Marty Maddin of Huntington Woods. (Photos by Brett Mountain)

NEXTGen Detroit (formerly known as YAD) launched in full force on Tuesday, June 12, as 175 NextGeners gathered for its first annual meeting at the home of Marcie and Rob Orley in Franklin.

Joshua Levine, 2011-2012 YAD president, started the meeting by giving the annual report.

“The landscape for young adult engagement has changed and quickly,” he said. “We have a very strong presence, participation and campaign compared to most other communities, but that’s not enough. We need to be better, we need to adapt, and this is why we created NEXTGen.”

Federation President Douglas Bloom welcomed everyone along with Lisa and Hannan Lis, who awarded Rabbi Leiby Burnham the Mark Family Young Leadership Award.

Burnham then gave a short, but empowering D’var Torah as he has done to successfully engage the young adult community in Metro Detroit over the past few years through his successful and innovative programs including Torah on Tap.

Ilana Liss, immediate past president of YAD, then installed the first NEXTGen Detroit’s 2012-2013 Board of Directors, including new members such as Jodi Beals, Adam Blanck, Amy Brody, Michael Chosid, Matt Cohn, Ryan Fishman, Jordan Glass, Josh Goldberg, Ryan Landau, Adam Milgrom, Scott Mitnick, Sara Nelson, Rabbi Yisrael Pinson, Jason Raznick and Donny Wohl as well as the rest of the returning and executive board.

The NEXTGen Detroit Board.

Liss then announced President-Elect Rachel Wright, who is slated to be the next president of the division beginning in 2013. Lastly, she installed the president of NEXTGen Detroit, Marty Maddin.

Maddin spoke about his vision for the coming year: “NEXTGen provides us the structure and resources to invite all of the different segments of our young adult population to the Federation table.

“This new structure helps us deliver a cohesive, continuous and relevant experience. By incorporating CommunityNEXT, Israel Experiences, Leadership and Development, Campaign and the NEXTGen Hub into one organization, we’re creating a new path to connect, engage and support our peers and community. And, we’re leading the charge nationally in this!” he said.

“There are a lot of moving pieces and additional constituencies for our board to represent. We need to make sure everyone has a voice and understands how they play a role in moving us forward.”

Maddin said his focus includes leadership development for board members, community outreach and Annual Campaign.

Rabbi Leiby Burnham of Oak Park was presented the Mark Family Young Leadership Award by Hannan and Lisa Lis.

“As we know, every dollar we raise is important, and we’re determined to show that collectively NEXTGen can have an epic impact on the Annual Campaign,” he said.

“Equally important, however, is that we find a way to help our donors feel good about the dollars and time they give. Without them, we have nothing!”

Maddin concluded his address by saying, “We must reach beyond our comfortable circle of friends and create space and a voice for those not currently at the table. This is not our table; this is a community table . . . and everyone who wants a seat at it is welcome.”

He also announced the creation of a NEXTGen Hub, a place to connect people and programs to their interests, profession and lifestyle.

“Our goal is simple: transformation,” Maddin said. “We are working to make our city a vibrant and meaningful home for young Jews of every age, a place where meaning can be found in every facet of life, from professional to social, religious to cultural and more.”

For more information about NEXTGen Detroit, visit www.jewishdetroit.org/nextgen.

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