GA Post #1
The title is taken from a conversation on Twitter that was spawned during the Handle With Care: How to Harness Social Media panel chaired by our dear friend Esther Kustanowitz.

Today is day one for me at the GA. Yesterday I was busy setting up the Jewlicious and E-3 Events concert with Matisyahu at EXDO, an amazing venue in downtown Denver. Thanks to funding from the local Federation, the event attracted over 2000 people, mostly conference attendees and volunteers from the morning’s Hineni service project. Kudos to EXDO and E-3 and the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado for taking this idea and making it a reality.

I started out my morning shmoozing over coffee with folks from the Tallahassee Federation. Solid.

Following the desperately needed coffee, I ventured out to hear Sally Helgesen, author of “Thriving in 24/7” on the topic of Leading 24/6: What is required. She was excited by the concept of 24/6. She loved the title and discussed the critical issue that leadership need a day of rest, a break from the cacophony of life. In order to thrive in leadership, in a more demanding environment that ever before, we need to be able to take time to disconnect and connect to traditions, community and being present. Racing and doing all the time will kill you and a day of rest is the perfect antidote. (Which was echoed in a session of the Jewish Futures Conference when Tiffany Shlain showed her short film about the importance of unplugging.)

Sally then quoted her friend Deepak Raju, Visa International founder who said that “the greatest consequence of technological advancement is not gadgets, but radical social change. Technology has increased the diversity and complexity of how people live and work.” It is more difficult to to assume commonalities about what is community, as people are more and more individual in their approach to what they want. We cannot make assumptions that everyone is on the same page. Rather we need to inspire them with mission they can respect and buy into. People are living more individualize lives that ever before. The dominant question, said Sally, is that people’s paradigms are centered around “what about me and how does this serve me, and achieve what I want to achieve. And how can you help me do that.” It’s not collaborative but utilitarian.

In the session chaired by our friend Shawn Landres, Balancing Innovation and Expectation to Transform Your Community, we heard an honest and eloquent presentation by Mitchell Bellman, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa. His take on how to transform community begins with the young adults who are totally ignorant of the Federation. And approaching them in a totally different way.

He outlined five guiding principles in reaching out to the unaffiliated young generation:
1. Discover-ability – they want these experience in the public sphere, and they want to keep it local.
2. Intimacy- While large programs have their impact, they are also focusing on small more intimate programs. Also that there is not one solution to the issue.
3. Authentic -They have to feel like they are really wanted for who they are, not as some potential dollar down the road.
4. Connectivity – The relationship is more important. They don’t care what group or organization you are really representing, as long as they could develop a personal relationship with them.
5. Experimentation – There has to be experimentation. If there is not risk then they will not reach the people they need to reach.

I’ll follow up with more in part two.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • no offense, but these posts about the Jewish Federation events are boring.

  • Bob? You’re totally right. I suppose that when you’re there, you’re just trying to take it all in. There isn’t any time for reflection. Maybe that comes after the event? But we’ll try and keep you entertained anyhow… stay tuned for more posts NOT about the GA.