The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s NEXTGen Detroit Board met for its monthly meeting on Oct. 21 at Hillel Day School. The Board’s 50 members, ages 23 to 40, gathered in Hillel’s mercaz (center) to hear from Head of School Steve Freedman, take a tour of the new innovation hub and regroup in the recently remodeled cafe to tackle their lengthy agenda.
“I am constantly in awe of our board’s level of investment — the time they give, the responsibilities they take on, the quality of ideas that they bring to the table. We are exceptionally lucky to have this caliber of young leaders in our community,” said Miryam Rosenzweig, director of NEXTGen Detroit.
NEXTGen Detroit’s board meets every month with separate meetings for the general board and the executive board. Board members consist of lawyers, doctors, rabbis, business owners, social workers and other professionals who commit their time to not only attend monthly meetings, but also the many meetings needed to plan and execute NEXTGen Detroit’s packed calendar of programming and events.
One such program is the upcoming Entrée series, which serves to inform young lay-leaders about the Jewish Federation and its agencies and connect them to mentors who are influential leaders in the community.
“Entrée is a first glimpse into the world of Federation. The goal is to engage new members of the NEXTGen community and educate them on how they can become further involved and provide a meaningful, lasting contribution to Jewish Detroit,” said Emily Nadis, NEXTGen board member and Entrée co-chair.
Another program that has grown this year under NEXTGen leadership is jbaby Detroit. A partnership between NEXTGen Detroit and the Federation’s Alliance for Jewish Education, jbaby provides learning opportunities, community resources and a supportive network for Jewish parents of young children or soon-to-be-parents.
“jbaby Detroit is working with Hebrew Free Loan to promote their loans for infertility and adoption,” said Ariella Lis Raviv, NEXTGen board member and jbaby Detroit co-chair.
“We’re also working with Rabbi Jennifer Kaluzny from Temple Israel in conjunction with the Share Support Group, which provides support to parents who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss. My co-chair, Shari Graham, and I are really looking forward to expanding the jbaby Detroit program this year,” she added.
The Federation’s recently unveiled “Here For Good” marketing campaign was also presented at the meeting. Board members divided into working groups to discuss the many ways that they will use and embrace the new campaign in their messaging, marketing and goal-setting for the year.
“Our board members are consistently asking how they can get involved and lead more, and I’m always heartened to hear this. Whether it’s to help in a Detrgrassroots way by cleaning homes affected by the recent flooding or by stepping forward to make a campaign call, they are a consummate group of mentshes,” said Jay Hack, NEXTGen board president.
With 50 talented and diverse members, the NEXTGen Board is truly the driving force behind Jewish young adult engagement in Metro Detroit. Developing strategy, executing events and acting as ambassadors of Jewish Detroit, this growing group has emerged as worthy successors to lead the community in the years to come.
By Becky Hurvitz, Special to the Jewish News.