The organization I lead and our local federation merged; on July 1 we became one. I thought it would be appropriate if not a little uplifting for us to celebrate a new hyper-local-holiday marking our new relationship with our professional colleagues and the parallel one among our respective volunteer leaders. No longer an independent agency, I thought we might begin to observe July 1 as Interdependence Day.
What led to this? A simple calculation. The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life was the Jewish Identity-building organization in our Greater MetroWest (NJ) community; indeed we were a federation agency – actually created by the federation in 2006. In celebration of our 5th Birthday, we set out a strategic plan for the next five years. As we approached our 10th Birthday, we looked back and saw that we hit virtually every goal we set five years before. We did very well. But in looking ahead another five years we saw that we were coming upon a point where the distance to our destination exceeded our ability to get there. At the same time, the federation embarked on an ambitious new endeavor to engage families with young children, to connect them to community, and in harmony with The Partnership’s goal, to empower them to lead meaningful Jewish lives. It did not take long for us to say to each other, “I cannot do this without you.”
18 Under 18 Who Bring Jewish Learning to Life honors young people in the Greater MetroWest community who Bring Jewish Learning to Life through meaningful connections between beloved activities, passions or hobbies and Jewish textual sources. This inaugural group was selected by a panel of three judges from among fifty entries because their essays were well-written and deeply tied to relevant Jewish sources.
18 Under 18 Who Bring Jewish Learning to Life was created by The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life to honor the memory and legacy of Herb and Milly Iris, and to celebrate ten years of generous support from the Herb and Milly Iris Youth and Family Philanthropy Endowment of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest.
Mazal Tov to our winners!