An Invitation to Chat with our CEO

How can we become more relevant to you and your family? What programs and initiatives do you want to see? And how can we help you feel more connected to your community? You are invited to share your ideas directly with Elyse, our new CEO on small group zoom chats.

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Is Jewish continuity important to you? If it is, then I need your help.

If the last 10 months have taught us anything, it is the fundamental importance of our connection to others. Relationships—whether with family, friends, or the greater community— provide support and comfort, give our lives meaning, and teach us about ourselves and the world around us.

I have always found that one of the most wonderful things about the Jewish community is our natural propensity for connection and our instinct to look out for one another. No matter where you are in the world there is a network of fellow Jews you can always rely on – to introduce you to others when you move to a new city, to help you find a job, to share a meal, to offer advice, and to make sure you do not have to face the challenges of life alone.

Until very recently, our instinct to support one another was rooted in a history of persecution and exclusion.

Jews stuck together because doing so was required for survival, for access to opportunity or for advancement. Today, although anti-Semitism has not disappeared, Jews have taken their place in mainstream society and are welcomed pretty much everywhere. Although this is certainly an important triumph for the Jewish people, it paradoxically puts Jewish continuity at risk. In the absence of external circumstances that compel us to bond together, unless we do so deliberately, the connections that we have created over our history are in jeopardy.

So how do we go about purposefully sustaining the precious network that has been built throughout the ages? In my view, it is through cultivating relationships with one another and by strengthening the institutions of Jewish life that allow us to build those relationships.

This past July I decided to leave my law practice to take on the role of CEO of the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA because I believe that building strong bonds with others is essential to Jewish continuity and that the Y is ideally placed to do just that. I know that in my own case, the relationships that I have developed at the Y play a central role in my sense of connection to community.

By providing a welcoming environment, with varied and accessible programs, the Y is the perfect place to gather and connect, and thereby foster relationships and create opportunities to weave those relationships together into a tightly knit community where everyone feels a strong sense of belonging.

This is where I need your help. I want to have a conversation with you in order to better understand how the Y can become more relevant in your life, what programs and services you would be interested in participating in, and how we can help you build your Jewish identity and feel more connected to your community. Our success as an institution in helping to sustain Jewish continuity depends very much on you.

Please help us be there for the community in a meaningful way by taking the time to participate in one of our virtual coffee chats and encouraging your friends and family members to do so as well. Please register by clicking the button below. In order to keep these chats productive, we will be limiting the number of participants at each chat, but I promise to speak with everyone who expresses an interest in participating.

I thank you in advance for your willingness to participate, to play an important role in strengthening our community center, and to help safeguard the future of our community. I very much look forward to having the opportunity to speak with you to learn more about how we can best serve you.

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