Your Federation as Convener

Last Sunday, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh held its 9th annual Apples and Honey event at the Waterfront Town Center. We were lucky to have beautiful weather to welcome the thousands who attended. Apples and Honey is our opportunity, working with tons of synagogues and community organizations, to engage young families with our community. I loved walking around and speaking with people I already knew and meeting lots of new people, at least new to me. It was a “low barrier” event of the highest quality. Perhaps the most incredible thing that happened was that our Shalom Pittsburgh staff person, who quarterbacked much of this program, was there the entire time running around and making sure everything was just perfect. Early the next morning she gave birth! Now, that’s commitment to one’s job and adds another member to our Jewish community.

On Tuesday night, the Community Relations Council of the Federation hosted its Greater Pittsburgh Jewish Council at the Federation’s offices. This Council includes representatives from nearly all Jewish organizations and synagogues with the goal of strengthening intra-faith dialogue and communication. Top volunteer and professional leaders of Dor Hadash, New Light, Tree of Life, the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family and Community Services and the Jewish Federation addressed what each is doing to move forward post October 27th. Despite the fact that I am personally and deeply engaged in lots of this work, I walked away learning several new things.

The two examples above demonstrate an important responsibility that our Federation takes on seriously – that of convener. This convener role helps to enhance communication and coordination, increases effectiveness and impact, and builds strong individual and organizational relationships. In an era of partisan politics, polarizing political debate, divisiveness, and harsh rhetoric, we fight back against all those trends within our Jewish community. We bring civility and cooperation because we are focused on that big audacious idea of building the strongest possible Jewish community right here in Pittsburgh.

Isn’t it cool to be countercultural!

Shabbat Shalom. Go Steelers!

P.S. I mentioned last week that the videos of our Fed Talk speakers at our Annual Meeting would be available online. You can find them here: jewishpgh.org/annual-meeting.

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