SPRINGFIELD – Nora Gorenstein has been named interim executive director of the Jewish Federation of Western Mass. She has served the Federation as development officer since July of 2019.
“I’ve actually been working on a lot of these big picture questions for the Federation in my capacity as development officer. I was asked by our board chair, Lara Curtis, if I would be interested in stepping up to this role, because I had already been working very closely with our board members and with donors and community members on what we were looking at doing this year. I was just very excited, thankful, and appreciative of the confidence that the board was willing to place in me in this interim role. It’s been an exciting few weeks.”
“I recently chaired Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy and had the opportunity to work with Nora for two years on Women’s Philanthropy programs and also on fundraising before she took on this directorial position,” said Curtis. “She has excellent and solid judgement and managerial skills, she’s creative, and she has so much to offer in her new position. Her ability to demonstrate tactful diplomacy consistently is also very impressive, and also critical when working with the many people and organizations under the umbrella of Federation. So much of the feedback from community members on Nora’s work has been commendable, which does not surprise me at all. We are very fortunate to have Nora Gorenstein at the helm of our organization.”
A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Gorenstein received her BA in English and Education and her master’s degree in English Literature from Brandeis University. She has worked in education, locally at Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy and Heritage Academy as well as at local religious schools. Prior to coming to the Jewish Federation, she worked for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation working with PJ Library and also on engagement programs and the North American Grinspoon Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education. She and her husband Eric live in Springfield with their two daughters, Sofia and Jackie.
One of the most important tasks that Gorenstein and the Federation board are working on is implementing some of the information they have gathered from the demographic study that was overseen by The Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies (CMJS) / Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI) at Brandeis University.
“Right now, I think it is very clear to me, having completed the community study – which we did between 2019 and 2020 – that this is the right time for us to start moving forward with that information,” Gorenstein said. “It’s not the moment to begin a strategic planning process because we’re still in the midst of a lot of transition, but it’s the perfect time for us to really access what we’ve been doing and try to start putting some pieces that we learned in the community study into place.
“We’re really embarking on an assessment process, thinking about what the community needs. What I’m really excited about from the community study is that it showed us some more of the specifics about our community demographics and some of the areas of our local community population that might not already be a part of this type of planning process. Now it’s a question of how we connect with that aspect of our population and the people who previously haven’t been heard and make sure we are listening to everyone’s voices.”