Local Community Plays Significant Role in North American Leadership Retreat

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia traveled to Washington with 84 Philadelphians, including five Hillel students, for the 2015 G.A.

Every year, members of  the Jewish community of North America come together for the General Assembly (G.A.), hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). The G.A. is the premier leadership retreat for Jewish Federation volunteer leaders and professionals and others engaged in the business of Jewish philanthropy. The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia traveled to Washington with 84 Philadelphians, including five Hillel students, for the 2015 G.A.
The three-day conference officially kicked off on Nov. 8 with the opening plenary – the first of four plenaries – which featured inspiring guest speakers like actress Debra Messing, Leslie Wexner and former NBC news moderator David Gregory and ended with a powerful speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In addition to the plenaries, the G.A. included breakout sessions, “Fedovation” sessions, special-interest meetings, networking opportunities and more. 
“The G.A. was a unique opportunity for members of the Philadelphia Jewish community to expand their perspectives on what it means to be Jewish,” said Mitch Sterling, Philadelphia G.A. Recruitment co-chair. “In the plenary sessions, more than 150 Jewish communities from across the United States and Canada were able to simultaneously learn about the most important issues impacting our people — and the good that we are able to do collectively. At the same time, breakout sessions and social gatherings provided an ideal backdrop to exchange ideas and best practices. In its totality, the G.A. experience leaves participants incredibly informed and inspired — and better equipped to make a difference in the Philadelphia Jewish community.”
Many members of the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community also shared their knowledge and experiences as speakers at the conference. The Jewish Federation’s Renaissance Group Mitzvah co-chair Courtney Behar and Rabbi Mike Uram, executive director of Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania, both spoke at plenaries on Monday. Behar spoke about the Renaissance Group Rebuild event with Habitat for Humanity. The Jewish Federation’s immediate past president, Sherrie Savett, introduced Jewish Federation Real Estate (JFRE) founding member, past chair and Executive Committee member Bill Glazer, who spoke about JFRE’s corporate partnership program at the “Corporate Connection: Finding Local Corporate Support” breakout session. Shira Goodman participated in a panel called “Lead and Succeed: Developing High Performance Leaders.” Also, the Jewish Federation’s three Young Leadership Awards winners — Jeff Bartos, Danielle M. Weiss and Deborah Gordon Klehr — were honored on the G.A. stage.
“Even though I have attended more than 25 G.A.s, each one included exciting surprises and opportunities for new learning — and this year was no exception,” said Jim Rosenstein, Philadelphia G.A. Recruitment co-chair. “As in the past, it was both personally enjoyable and communally productive, ranging from a presentation about different and controversial, but potentially powerful, strategies for substantially increasing community-wide fundraising, to sharing successes, and a few failures, in the community’s efforts combatting the BDS movement, to public policy speeches from governmental leaders, to informal dialogues among friends and colleagues from other parts of the U.S. and Canada.”
For more information about the General Assembly or other ways to get involved with the Jewish Federation, please contact Addie Lewis Klein, Senior Manager of Volunteer Engagement and Campaign Operations, at 215.832.0828 or [email protected]


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