"A watered-down, least common denominator Judaism will not serve as an adequate basis for Jewish peoplehood. Only more strongly identified and more highly educated Jews who feel a responsibility for Jews wherever they live in the world will secure our common future. This is our charge and our challenge."That simple, challenging and passionate challenge to the Jews of New York, to North American Jewry, to our overseas partners...to all of us...summed up the vision and works of Alisa Rubin Kurshan, a brilliant professional leader of the New York UJA-Federation, where she serves as Executive Vice-Presidentof Community Planning and Agency Resources, whose retirement was announced just last month after two decades of professional leadership.
I did not know Alisa well; I knew of her work and I knew of her influence. In her service to New York UJA she was a role model...not just a role model for women professionals, which she, of course, is and was...but a role model for all Jewish professionals regardless of gender.
New York's new CEO/President, Eric Goldstein, said it best in announcing Alisa's retirement:
"Alisa’s legacy - through her various roles at UJA-Federation - includes helping to shape our vision, driving our efforts to invest in the renewal of Jewish life, widening our understanding of community, and strengthening our relationships with synagogues. Alisa was also instrumental in promoting new ways of engaging with Israel, and has built a planning team that is highly regarded throughout the Jewish world."Alisa Kurshan's retirement is a loss to our system. May she go from strength-to-strength.