Pictured: Stu Goodman, Dayna Finkelstein, Mitch Sterling, Danielle Weiss
A year and a half ago, 36-year old Stu Goodman began hungering for greater involvement in the Jewish communities, and thinking about the Jewish future. “We’re lucky to have had giants leading us. But who will be the leaders in twenty or thirty years?” asks Stu. “You need the next generation to step up.” Stu wanted to invest his time and efforts towards making a difference. His friend Mitch Sterling had two words of advice.
“Cabinet,” as it’s affectionately called, is National Young Leadership Cabinet (NYLC), the Jewish Federations of North America’s flagship leadership program. Its members are philanthropic-minded 30- and 40-somethings who are motivated to build strong local and global Jewish communities, and ready to be groomed into leaders. Cabinet members volunteer together; gather at retreats, conferences and social events; and embark on international travel to help those in need, experience Jewish diversity abroad, and understand the impact of Jewish Federation programs at work. Importantly, with over 4000 alumni, NYLC creates opportunities to connect with other young Jews across the country.
For Stu Goodman, who recently completed the first year of his 6-year NYLC term, making those connections has been among membership’s greatest rewards. “You’re building this national Jewish community — like a leadership family,” he says. “It’s a network that allows you to see the bigger picture, and learn what other people are doing. Then you can bring that information home and put it to work.” In addition, the program is highly individualized, tailored to each person’s skills and interests — in Stu’s case, Israel advocacy — with each year’s curriculum building upon the year before. “I’ve already learned and accomplished so much more than I imagined,” says Stu.
The Philadelphia NYLC chapter, chaired by Mitch Sterling, is a particularly driven group. The entire crew attended this year’s retreat in Scottsdale, Arizona; raised more than $2 million for our Jewish communities; and helped with Hurricane Harvey disaster relief by arranging for the donation and delivery of much-needed supplies.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to find ways to make a difference,” says Stu of the coming year. “To have an opportunity to grow, and to have a seat at the table.”