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LEAD cultivates next generation of Jewish leaders

By Stacey Dresner

WORCESTER – On March 24, young adults from the Jewish community will visit Worcester City Hall for a program led by City Councilor Moe Bergman on Jewish leadership. They will also get a personal tour of City Hall led by Bergman – a perfect event for members of LEAD, a program of the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts. 

“LEAD is designed to cultivate and groom the next generation of philanthropists and board members within the community, recognizing that this is something that really hadn’t taken place over the years,” said Steven Schimmel, executive director of the Jewish Federation. “And it was time to do it again.”

Throughout the year there will be a series of LEAD events, including workshops, presentations, lectures, and field trips to “give this group a strong sense of the importance of Jewish community, Jewish values and of tzedakah and how Federation supports the Jewish community,” Schimmel said. 

The March 24 event will give its young participants a taste of what the local Jewish community is all about.

“Moe Bergman, one of our city counselors, a great leader in our local Jewish community, is going to give a behind the scenes look at Worcester City Hall, give a talk on Jewish values in politics and a little bit of the history of Jewish life in Worcester,” Schimmel said.

Schimmel explained that LEAD is a “select group” of young active Jews who have been invited to participate. This includes some members of YAD, the Federation’s Young Adult Division, which connects young area Jews for monthly social and holiday events.

“A lot of the people who will be there are active YADS but this is sort of a select group. It is sort of like an AP course  in Jewish leadership. A little bit more advanced, a little more in depth, [because there is] a little bit more at stake,” Schimmel explained. “The goal of it is to ensure that 20 years from now there are strong connected donors in the community who will sit on boards, people who will give and people who will really understand the nuts and bolts of Federation and the importance of it.”

The program has the full support of Federation leaders, who Schimmel says, recognize how important the next generation is to the Jewish community.

“The board of directors of Federation has made this a priority and the community has embraced it,” Schimmel said. “Especially our major donors. They really recognize how important it is to prepare the next generation to lead. And that is the whole goal of this, so that the next generation really has an understanding and knowledge and desire to be stakeholders and leaders of the community.”

CAP: Steven Schimmel

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