Wednesday, September 21st, 2016...11:33 am

A call for change at the Twin Cities Jewish Federations

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We call for a task force from a demographically diverse cross-section of Jewish citizens from across the Twin Cities to come together and explore fresh opportunities

To the leadership of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Federations:

Inspired by the words of the renowned sage and scholar Hillel, who said, “If not now, when?” (Mishnah Avot 1:14), we, the undersigned members of the Twin Cities Jewish community, ask leadership of both the St. Paul and Minneapolis Jewish Federations, for the good of the whole community, to defer their respective search processes for a new, permanent CEO for the necessary time it takes to seriously and fully consider new possibilities in a changed landscape.

This is a pivotal moment in our Twin Cities’ Jewish history. With both Federations’ CEO positions open, we have a unique opportunity, and obligation, to take a renewed look beyond our ever more porous city borders and develop new solutions to strengthen Twin Cities Jewish life as well as Jewish life overseas.

Building on the soon-to-be-published research and recommendations of the Twin Cities Jewish Community Cooperation Panel (an outcome of the St. Paul Community Planning Process listening sessions), we call for a task force from a demographically diverse cross-section of Jewish citizens (Federation donors and non-donors) from across the Twin Cities to come together and explore fresh opportunities.

While we cannot predict the conclusions of a task force ahead of time, we do know:

  • All Jews are responsible for one another. Kol Yisrael arevim zeh b’zeh. (Talmud Shavuot 39A); this is the rallying cry of both federations to give generously to help Jews here and abroad. In today’s Twin Cities, Jews reside in St. Paul and work in Bloomington. They live in Minneapolis and daven in Mendota Heights. The current boundaries of Federated participation and giving seem fluid and artificial in this day and age. We should be focused on strengthening our Jewish community as a whole.
  • We have the potential to build an even more welcoming, cohesive and appealing Jewish community for prospective residents, and one that will retain more of our young people, for college and after graduation.
  • We want to explore more fully how a bi-city effort could open the door for new donors to feel they are contributing to an innovative organization built for the future, while continuing to support the vital programs and services of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
  • We want local Jews to consider a possible new umbrella structure for Federation activities that supports all Twin Cities Jews, and respects and highlights the cultural differences and strengths of greater Minneapolis and St. Paul.
  • Depending on the results of this task force, the CEO search process could look different than it does today; hence the prudence of postponing the permanent CEO search.

Now is the time to conduct due diligence on behalf of Twin Cities Jews, and consider redefining us echad, as one. Therefore, we respectfully ask both Federations to allow for the time necessary to thoughtfully and intentionally complete this task.

Signed,*

Dominic D. Ackerman, member Beth Jacob, resident St. Louis Park

Orit Ackerman, Harry Kay applicant ’16

Robert Aronson, Harry Kay ’95, Board of Directors, HIAS

Jennifer Bagdade, Harry Kay ’13

Paul Bagdade

Fran Bayer, Harry Kay ’03, Harry Kay Leadership Coordinator ’13

Judy Berman

Mike Berman

Tim Broms, Harry Kay ’99

Lev Buslovich, Harry Kay ’13

Joan Carples, Harry Kay ’99

Steve Carples, Harry Kay ’99

Michael Chauss

Stephanie Chauss

Stuart A. Chazin, Harry Kay ’94

Martin S. Chester, Harry Kay ’08

Daniel Feder, Harry Kay ’03

Hillary Feder, Harry Kay ’03

Laurie Fink

Jason Fink

Linda Fiterman, general campaign chair (2000) and former major gifts chair of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation

Gordon Gendler

Brent Gensler

Marni Gensler

Mark Goldberg, member of Mount Zion

Chad Goldenberg

Cheryl Goldenberg, Harry Kay ’13

David Goldenberg, Harry Kay ’13

Debbie Goldenberg

Bruce E. Goldstein

Jill Gottlieb, Harry Kay ’99

Steve Gottlieb, Harry Kay ’99

Jon Halper, Harry Kay ’13

Sarah Hanly, Harry Kay ’13

Michael Harad, Harry Kay ’08

Serena Harad

Matt Heilicher

Jerry Ingber, Wexner Heritage Foundation alumnus; past president, Sabes JCC; past trustee, Jewish Community Foundation; past member, Minneapolis Jewish Federation Overseas Allocation Committee

Brian Kamin

Sandy Kamin

Harold Kaplan

Jennifer Kaplan

Bob Kaplan

Robert Karasov, Harry Kay ’95

Erwin Kelen

Robert Kelen, Harry Kay ’98

Dan Klausner

Nancy Klausner

Kathryn Klibanoff, past trustee, Jewish Community Foundation

Deborah Kohler, Harry Kay ’98

Eileen Kohn, Harry Kay ’99

David Kohn, Harry Kay ’99

Jennifer Kramer

Robert Kramer, Harry Kay ’99

Steve Lear, Harry Kay ’95, chair, Jewish Community Foundation of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation

Charles Levine, Harry Kay ’13

Stephanie Levine

Elena Levitt

Daniel Lieberman, Harry Kay ’95

Dr. David Lipschultz

Betty Sue Lipschultz

Kris MacDonald, past president of Minneapolis Jewish Federation

Richard Markovitz

Neil M. Meyer, Wexner Fellow

Neil Moses-Zirkes, Harry Kay ’13

Susan Moses-Zirkes

Marissa Onheiber, vice presdient of marketing/communications at HMJDS

Jacqueline Paster

Eric Pasternack

JoAnn Pasternack

Valerie Penner

Jeremy Pierotti, Harry Kay ’03

Tammie Rosenbloom, Harry Kay ’94

Vic Rosenthal

Tom Sanders, Chairman of the Board, Harry Kay Charitable Foundation

Susan Saxl, Harry Kay ’99

Nancy Schachtman

Steve Schachtman

Adam Schwartz

David Segal, Wexner Heritage Series 1985-1988, Minneapolis Jewish Federation Board Member and Executive Committee Member

Rosalyn Segal

Yoav Segal

Susan Shapiro

Dannon Shiff, Harry Kay ’13

Aaron Silver

Beckie Skelton

Harold Smith

Alene G. Sussman, Minneapolis Jewish Federation board of directors, Harry Kay ’13

Loren J Taple, Harry Kay ’13

Alex Tselos, Harry Kay ’13

Rachael Vegas, Harry Kay ’13

Lisa Walker

Jennifer Wall

Michael Wall

Amy Weiss, Harry Kay ’03

Dan Weiss, Harry Kay ’03

Sandra Weiss-Lynn, Harry Kay ’08

Drew Zamansky, Harry Kay ’13

Ronald A. Zamansky

Natalie Zamansky, Harry Kay ’13

If you would like to add your signature to this letter, visit: tinyurl.com/JewishTwinCities.

*The views expressed here are solely those of the signatories, and do not represent the views of the listed organizations.

(The American Jewish World, 9.23.16)

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