I love meeting with teen groups. You can spend time with a Jewish federation teen philanthropy group and come out feeling optimistic about the future of Jewish community leadership.
Yesterday I presented some programs to the “Jteam” teen philanthropy initiative at the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County in NJ.
Programs like “Better Together” in Ashkelon, working to empower the weakest and most vulnerable populations. At-risk children, weaker immigrants, difficult socioeconomic backgrounds. Programs like the Elderly Food Program for Jews in the former Soviet Union, saving tens of thousands of lives every day.
But … here’s the catch. Would we continue these programs without the teens’ funding? Absolutely. So why are we asking?
For two reasons.
First … because every dollar makes an impact. A one thousand dollar donation, on average, can save one elderly Jew in the former Soviet Union. Enough extra food, medicine and homecare to give life for a year. So the lesson that saving one life is like saving the entire world really has meaning.
But second – and just as important – because conversations with teen philanthropy groups aren't just about the vulnerable, the poor, the weak at all. They’re about us.
They’re about the future of our Jewish communities, how we think about philanthropy and continuity.
They’re about the kind of leadership we want to see in twenty years time … and how we prepare them today.