Report of the President – 2017 Annual Meeting
In Pirkei Avot (2:21) Rabbi Tafron teaches us: “Lo alecha ham'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibatel mimena,” – “You are not expected to complete the task, nor are you free to desist from it [avoid it].”
In the unfolding history of the Jewish people, the work we do at our Federation is continuous – each project we complete is only the building block for future projects. Although at times this may feel daunting, I have yet to see our amazing staff and incredible volunteers shy away from the challenges we face.
In this past Shabbat’s parsha "Beha’alotchah," Moses was at his wits' end with the complaining of the people. He realized that he could not do it alone. Our greatest leader, the man who was considered our teacher, Moshe Rabbeinu, the leader that has no equal – as the Torah says in Deuteronomy, there is no other prophet in Israel like Moses – he couldn’t do it alone. As G-d instructed, Moses called on 70 of the greatest elders to help. If Moses couldn’t do it alone, then certainly no mere president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis could do it alone. And thank G-d, I didn’t have to!
It has been an incredible privilege to work with Debby, Katy, Margo, Erica, Michael, Michele and the entire Federation staff, and our officers, Mike Rubin (our president-elect), Brad Gershman, Diane Lutz, Stacy Segal, Helen Goldstein, Murray Firestone, our campaign chairs Jim Schwartz and Leslie Rubin, and our immediate past president Paul Kraft, as well as with all of our board members, countless volunteers, and donors who put forth such heart and tireless effort on behalf of our community.
I also want to recognize and thank the volunteer leadership and staff of all our constituent and beneficiary agencies for the vital work they do in carrying out their respective missions. It is my hope that we are able to continue to grow our Annual Campaign and endowment in order to enhance our support for the important work they do.
As I look back over the last year, there are too many small and large accomplishments to mention, but there are four things that must be noted.
First: we completed a fourth ATID Leadership program. Thanks to Greg Maurer and David Vonnegut-Gabovitch, we have new capable graduates of our Leadership program, who are already taking on new leadership roles throughout the community.
Second: Thanks to Leo Grabovsky (ATID 3) and Rachel Gershman (ATID 4), our NEXTGen program has been completely revamped and launched, with great programs and initiatives that are connecting more and more people to our community.
Third: The demographic study led by Gigi Marks Felsher [I haven’t receive a call yet, but can’t wait to see the results.]
And fourth: The Working Group, led by David Kleiman and Brad Bell, who are looking at what our campus needs to become in order to serve the needs of our agencies and how to best accommodate those needs – physically, strategically and financially.
The results of the demographic study will help guide the efforts of the Working Group and help shape the collective efforts of our Federation, agencies, and synagogues for the benefit of our community for years to come.
None of our achievements this past year can be considered a completed task, but rather a springboard to further our mission of meeting the tzedaka needs of our donors and the human needs and dreams of Jews locally, nationally, in Israel and throughout the world.
And I can think of no better person to lead us forward than our president-elect, Mike Rubin. Mike has proven, again and again, that his passion for our community knows no bounds. His intellect and caring has helped guide me as we have worked together over the years, and I know that his calm demeanor will serve him, and our community, extremely well.
Of course, I want to thank Michelle and our children Ari, Tahlia and Yael for their support, encouragement and love. Two years ago, as I was about to take on the role of President, Michelle asked me, “What will it look like, what will you need to do, and how will it impact our family?” I answered that we already go to everything, so maybe another meeting or two a month(?) She gave me the look, and then told me that I need to think a little harder. Yes, I was clueless. Our Federation does so much, and impacts so many people, that I am still trying to grasp it all. So yes, it took a lot more of my time than I expected. And I am grateful for every minute of it, and so pleased that my family, and my colleagues at Katz & Korin, so selflessly made it possible for me to be our Federation’s President. Michelle, as you take on your role nationally on the JFNA’s Women’s Philanthropy Board as well as chairing our Partnership2Gether Consortium, I hope that I am able to encourage and support you the way you have supported and encouraged me. I love you.
Most of all, I want to thank each of you for what you do for our community and for allowing me to serve as our Federation’s President for the past two years. It has been an honor.