Top Young Community Professionals Selected for 2010 Award

David Cygielman and Eva Stern were named the 2010 winners of the Young Professional Award of the Jewish Communal Service Association.

The Award, the most prestigious honor for young professionals in Jewish community service, will be presented at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), meeting Nov. 7 through 9 in New Orleans.

Cygielman and Stern were chosen by a distinguished panel from a large and varied group of candidates nominated by their colleagues from scores of organizations throughout North America. The Award recognizes integrity, commitment, creativity, and the importance and impact of their exemplary work.

The JCSA Award, which includes a $1,000 honorarium, is underwritten by the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, the Mandel Foundation and the Bernard Rodkin Fund of United Israel Appeal-Federations of Canada.

About the winners:

David Cygielman

When David Cygielman graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara (B.A., business/economics, 2003), where he was active in Hillel and taught at a local synagogue, he felt that the personal connections to Judaism that he and his friends had in college ended with their diplomas. “The problem was not a lack of interest, but that my peers had few opportunities to build Jewish lives.” And what began just seven years ago as four friends in his native Oakland, California renting a house together and sponsoring Jewish events is now Moishe House, an international organization that provides meaningful Jewish experiences to young adults in their twenties – offering training, support, study and sponsorship as they create vibrant home-based communities. There are now 31 houses worldwide with more than 40,000 attendees during the year. From Shabbat dinners to book clubs to sporting events, residents find ways to connect their peers within the community wherever they are.

Cygielman, now the CEO, secured the initial funds for Moishe House, and using his backgrounds in business (in sales, marketing and development after college) and foundation work (managing the $20 million Forest Foundation’s charities), is now responsible for raising the more than $1.25 million needed each year to run the organization. Its activities have been covered in the New York Times, Washington Post and other major newspapers and Jewish publications, and on CNN and PBS. David’s vision for the future is one in which Jews around the world take responsibility for their identity, their education and for one another. “Along the way, I’ve learned the importance of asking for help, the knowledge that a strong team will always accomplish more than an individual, and the firm belief that with hard work and passion, there is no limit in the future for Jewish people.”

Eva Stern

Eva Danielle Stern remembers being hospitalized at the age of five, and the feeling of warmth and connection with the Jewish community she experienced – from the Rabbi’s healing presence when she was in intensive care to the steady stream of visitors from her New York shul – is still with her in her role as Director of Training for the Jewish Outreach Institute. The JOI’s mission is to honor Jewish values by promoting a more welcoming and inclusive North American Jewish community that embraces intermarried families and unengaged Jews, and encourages their increased participation in Jewish life. Eva works with hundreds of fellow Jewish communal professionals and volunteer leaders to help them understand specific outreach methods, and to make their organizations more accessible and engaging for newcomers.

Eva is known to them as a leader who exhibits great enthusiasm, tremendous empathy, kindness and respect, and an ability to share information effectively and engagingly. She is a sought-after speaker and presenter, and leads training programs throughout the U.S and Canada. “My experience of the community’s power to sustain and support has instilled in me a deep motivation to serve, strengthen and develop both that particular community and the greater Jewish community beyond – to help institutions become more inclusive to and make Jewish life more accessible and relevant for the present and future generations.” Stern is a graduate of Brandeis University (B.A, cum laude, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, December, 2002; M.A., Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, 2004), and joined the JOI in 2005. She also volunteers as Young Adult Coordinator at the Town and Village Synagogue in New York City.

about: The Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA) works with a broad spectrum of organizations in the United States and Canada to shape, define, and promote professional leadership in Jewish community service for the 21st Century. JCSA connects practitioners and leadership and provides opportunities to share knowledge and collaborate across fields of service. JCSA brings together multiple professions, associations and advocacy groups, linking 16 local organizations by providing partnership and advancement opportunities. JCSA supports professional development and the creation and dissemination of educational resources, and promotes best practices, recognition, advocacy and networking.

JCSA actively assists in the creation of new groups and in the development and retention of young talent through its prestigious Young Professional Award, which recognizes exemplary leadership, and on-going community forums. JCSA’s publications include the Journal of Jewish Communal Service, which focuses on professional standards, trends and developments, and critical thinking on important issues for the Jewish community.