Investing in Our Professionals is an Investment in Our Jewish Future

By Naomi Adler and David Cygielman

Today’s Jewish organizations are powered by rabbis and teachers, social workers and counselors, administrators and graphic designers, fundraisers and engagement professionals. They work in federations and day schools, at homes for the elderly, summer camps, in advocacy organizations, arts organizations, synagogues, and more. When we speak of the need to “strengthen the field” or “build the talent pipeline” it can be daunting to understand just where the field begins and ends. Yet regardless of the type of organization or particular role, we can agree that recruiting, developing, and retaining top talent at all levels and strengthening our connectedness across the field is paramount to driving transformational change within our Jewish communities and beyond.

JPRO Network exists to amplify the ability of all those who work in Jewish organizations to contribute to the vitality of their communities while supporting them on their professional journeys. In our own roles leading teams of professionals at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and at Moishe House, we have seen first-hand the power of JPRO Network, and we know the success of all those who work in Jewish organization is critical to the success of our collective Jewish future.

This is why gatherings like our upcoming conference, JPRO19: What Connects Us, are so important and why we made the commitment to co-chair this year’s conference. JPRO19 will enable participants to spend 48 hours in Detroit from August 12-14 immersed in experiences that enhance professional identity, inspire personal growth, and create meaningful connections with other professionals across the field. The entire conference is curated to highlight the diversity, complexity, and creativity of people and organizations within and beyond the Jewish community – and we will engage, hands on, with the incredible work being done across metropolitan Detroit today.

JPRO19 provides an opportunity to identify points of intersection around which our entire workforce – regardless of role, geographic location, age, or religious identification – can engage and develop as individuals and as a field. It is an opportunity to harness each professional’s individual strengths in order to shape a more vibrant Jewish future.

As hundreds of Jewish professionals gather in Detroit this August 12-14 for JPRO19, we are excited to think beyond existing structures to identify new approaches, disruptive strategies, and fresh thinking that can truly move the field forward. We believe it is just as important to look outside the Jewish world as it is to look within it – and learn from other faiths and communities, secular engagement, the tech industry, and elsewhere – in order to expand and elevate our work. With themes such as Designing Workplaces of the Future; Civil Discourse in Complex Times; Building Resilient Communities; and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion providing a framework for the conference, practical skills-based workshops, and peer-learning opportunities, participants at all levels will derive significant value from JPRO19.

Participants from early-career to seasoned professionals will have an opportunity to:

  • Build connections: Strengthen relationships among professionals and introduce pathways for expanded networks.
  • Get inspired: Practical learning with and from peers at JPRO19 will be a centerpiece of the conference and help improve individual and collective practices in the future. Forums such as the “Steal This” stage will allow participants to learn about model programs and engagement strategies that can be replicated elsewhere.
  • Advance critical fieldwide discussions: Issues and ideas derived from the conference themes will challenge participants while also grounding this learning in practical skills and approaches that can be brought back to their everyday work.
  • Build skills: Workshops in areas such as fundraising, communication skills, and more will be available for those who want to focus a half-day on intensive skill development.
  • Practice mindfulness and selfcare: Wellness interludes and mindfulness moments will enable Jewish communal professionals to relax, recharge, and reflect on their work and themselves as leaders – reinforcing the importance of leading self in order to lead others.

We are grateful to the William Davidson Foundation for leading the way with their generous support for this year’s conference and to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit for partnering with us to bring JPRO19 to Detroit. The Jim Joseph Foundation, The AVI CHAI Foundation, The Marcus Foundation, the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, and many others are stepping up to generously support JPRO19.

We hope you’ll join us and contribute your own thoughts and expertise in Detroit from August 12-14, 2019. Early bird registration is open through May 30 and special discounts are available for community delegations and groups of 3 or more from an organization. Learn more and register here.

Naomi Adler, ESQ. is the President & CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. David Cygielman is the Founder and CEO of Moishe House. Together, they are the co-Chairs of JPRO19: What Connects Us.