New Jersey Jewish Leadership Forum
A Joint Project of The New Jersey Jewish Federations
and The Bildner Center
The New Jersey Jewish Leadership Forum, a joint project with New Jersey’s Jewish Federations, exemplifies the Bildner Center’s role as an innovator in fostering the state’s dynamic Jewish life. With this groundbreaking leadership development initiative, the Forum taps the collective resources of New Jersey’s Jewish leadership to encourage creative responses to the challenges facing the Jewish community statewide.
The Forum is open exclusively to two representatives – generally the current and incoming presidents – from each of the state's twelve Jewish Federations. It affords them a rare opportunity to come together as a group under one roof, gathering in the intimate academic setting of the Bildner Center’s facility for a cycle of programs that spans up to one year.
Through a series of interactive sessions, the Forum provides a venue for focused discussion about key issues and the opportunity to exchange proven, practical methods for tackling them head on. First called the New Jersey Leadership Think Tank when it was launched in 2001, the program was renamed at the initiative of Federation directors who felt the new title better reflected the Forum's essential role: to create a fertile environment for effecting change that strengthens Jewish life and leadership throughout the state.
In order to participate, Federation representatives must commit to full attendance at all Forum programs. They must also come prepared to each session, conversant with the information covered in background materials provided by the Center, in order to maximize what they contribute – and gain – from each meeting with their peers.
As a leadership development initiative with a strong community-building component, the Forum has profound impact through the inter-community relationships it nurtures. Participants both interact on the macro-level and network one-on-one, developing creative ways to pool resources, share ideas, and replicate successful service models. The result is a solid, statewide alliance that not only benefits New Jersey Jewry locally, but also enhances the community’s presence in the national Jewish arena.
Recognizing the important link between the state’s Jewish community and the larger Jewish world, the Forum explores the effect of broader national and international trends on even the smallest of Jewish communities here. The Bildner Center works closely with Federation leadership in planning the Forum to ensure that key topics are addressed in a meaningful way, with long-lasting impact on New Jersey’s Jewish constituencies.
The Jewish Leadership Forum’s programming is as diverse as the community it serves. Sessions address a wide gamut of strategic issues, ranging from the state’s changing demography and the challenges of engaging the next generation, to Jewish education both in and out of the classroom and the centrality of the State of Israel in Jewish life.
Expert panelists represent the national vanguard in innovative service delivery, Jewish education, Jewish communal service, and philanthropy, as well as international academia. They bring professional and lay expertise from both new, cutting edge organizations and long-established institutions. To create an overarching thematic framework that unites the Forum’s diverse agenda, Jonathan Woocher, Chief Ideas Officer of the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA), facilitates Forum events.
The Jewish Leadership Forum is not open to the public. All sessions are subject to change.