Federation national conference draws young leaders
By David A. Schwartz, Staff Writer
South Florida's four Jewish Federations were well represented among the almost 200 young leaders from 40 Jewish communities in the U.S. and Canada at the Jewish Federations of North America's National Young Leadership Cabinet Retreat earlier this month in Orlando.
The annual conference brought together Jews in their 30s and 40s who are participating in a six-year program to train the next generation of Federation leaders. The five-day event provided leadership training, education in philanthropy and opportunities for spiritual reflection.
Participants got "lessons on leadership and how to build on what is already great about the Federation and take it to the next level," said Brian Seymour, 41, of Palm Beach Gardens, who represented the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.
The Retreat generated new ideas for reaching out to the Jewish community and imparting the importance of the Jewish Federation system to donors, he said.
Seymour, who is in his last year of the Federation's six-year national leadership program, said he was so impressed with the program that he urged his wife Lisa to get involved.
Their participation in the national leadership program has become "an integral part of our relationship and who we are," Lisa Seymour, 42, said.
The Cabinet Retreat is important because "There is no other place to get the experiences and meet the people you meet in the Jewish world," she said.
"You're with leaders from all across North America," said Lisa Goldstein, 38, of Aventura, who represented the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. "It's inspiring."
Goldstein said participants shared their Federation's "best practices."
"It's a pretty impressive group of people," said Stacey Schulman, 34, of Cooper City, an attorney and a young leader with the Jewish Federation of Broward County. The Retreat brings together like-minded Jews and re-energizes their commitment to young leadership and the Jewish Federation, she said.
It also gives them ideas to bring to their Federation's board of directors, Schulman added.
Erik Rosenstrauch, 42, a young leader from the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, said he wants to develop a big event with multiple Federations in South Florida participating.
An event in Chicago, where Rosenstrauch lived before he moved to Boca Raton two years ago, drew more than 2,500 participants, he said.
Brian Seymour said he got involved in the Federations' national young leadership program because he wanted to "make the most out of my Jewish community."
Seymour said he grew up disconnected from Judaism and with no Jewish identity. He said he wants to make sure there are opportunities for anyone to be involved in the Jewish community.
Schulman grew up in a Federation family. Her grandfather was involved in a local Federation, her father was a Federation president and her mother was a women's division president, she said.
She said she is honored to represent the Broward Federation nationally. "I feel that I could never give to the Federation more than it has given me," Schulman said.
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