As Ken Krug and I rode into Jerusalem together for the February Board of Governors meetings of the Jewish Agency for Israel, I got to know a little about this new Federation professional -- the Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Ken joined Federation directly from a long career with the Rand Corporation bringing new ideas and new reactions to old ideas to his new service to the Jewish people.
I reflected on this during a conversation with Don Sylvan in the lobby of the Inbal Hotel. Don, a past Board Member of JESNA from Columbus, Ohio, became JESNA's President and CEO in 2005. After sharing our memories of the South Side of Chicago where both of us grew up, Don told me, as Ken had, his excitement in serving the Jewish People. Here were two lay persons who joined the cadre of Jewish professionals. This is a great and absolutely necessary evolution.
I remember early on his career as President and CEO of the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, I visited with Doug Seserman, who had left the marketing field to enter Jewish professional life. Doug came filled with new ideas, most, if not all, of which that Federation has put into play with success. Doug came to Federation and the adaptation of Federation to his new ideas has propelled it forward.
Then there is my friend, Beth Cherner, who played a significant role in Chicago's lay leadership until she "dropped everything" to join the staff of Chicago's Jewish United Fund as its Campaign Director where her energy and enthusiasm have driven our annual campaign to ever greater height.
These four -- Beth, Doug, Don and Ken -- are but examples of a new trend in Jewish communal professional life. They are joined by 100's and 100's more who came either from the business world or the world of lay leadership to Jewish communal professional life bringing new ideas and perspectives. We are fortunate to have them.