The JPRO19 conference unified Jewish professionals from around the country, helping them strengthen their Jewish connections and communities.

Photography by Corrie Colf

JPRO19 kicked off its conference this week in the heart of Detroit at the Cobo Center, with sessions that ran Monday through Wednesday.

The conference allowed hundreds of Jewish professionals from across the country, including Metro Detroit, to deepen connections, make progress on issues that are at the forefront of their collective work and to strengthen their individual capacity to lead. The range of professional participants spanned generations, locations, organizations, jobs and more.

The local William Davidson Foundation was the “co-creator” sponsor of the conference.

On the first day, participants engaged in immersive experiences that allowed them to tour the city of Detroit. Themes for these experiences included building resilient communities, civil discourse in complex times, designing workplaces for the future, and diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

Over the next two days, professionals had the opportunity to attend both small and large group skill-building workshops and master classes taught by trained professionals in that field. These workshops including topics ranging from “Jews of Color,” “#MeToo to #WeToo” and “Jewish Life and Security.”

The session, “Jewish Life and Security in the Wake of Pittsburgh and Poway,” was led by Michael Masters and Doron Horowitz of the Secure Community Network, a national network under the Jewish Federations of North America that advises Jewish communities about security issues. The session outlined efforts by both communities before the shootings had even taken place and provided insight on how communities can become better prepared during this time of heightened threats.

Masters and Horowitz both emphasized that “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” They spoke about the importance of having a procedure in place, training efforts and the need of communities to be proactive.

The conference concluded with the opportunity for the participants to chat with the others about their own professional journeys and reflect about their own career paths. Participants also engaged in discussions about how their own experiences at JPRO19 could bring change and strengthen their Jewish communities.

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