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April 10, 1998     Jewish News
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t April 10, 1998 Southeastern Virginia Jewish News Young Leadership Conference in Washington Washington 11 is not an event; it is a happening. The UJA National Young Leadership Con- ference takes place every other year in Washington, D.C. This year's Conference was held March 22-24 and attracted the largest crowd ever Paul Peck and David Leon served as the Tidewa- ter Conference Co-Chairs. Both Leon and Peck are members of the UJA National Young Leader- ship Cabinet Deb Aleck, also a member of the UJA Young Lead- ership Cabinet, served as the Northeast Region Recruitment Co-Chair, and made Tidewater look good by her success in recruitment. Brian Schneiderman, Chairman of Tidewater's Young Leadership, served as the Chair of the Capitol Hill visits. The Tidewater delegation included the following people: Deb Aleck, Stephanie Calliott, Betsy and Erik Cooper, Karl and Lisa Denison, Debby and Fred Fink, Robert Friedman, Shari and Bruce Friedman, Sue Gitlin, Jodi and Jay Klebanoff, David Leon, Betty Ann Levy, Alicia London, Gary Moss, Charles Nusbaum, Jr., Paul Peck, Brian Schneiderman, Price Shapiro, Monica Stein, John and Renee Strelitz, Ross Wein- stein, Adam White, Howard Weinstein, Amy Zelenka, Hillel students, Elyssa Lefeore and Rosanne Hinshaw and Betsy Karotkin, staff. Below are excerpts from letters by some of the Young Leadership pcjpswho shared some of their thoughts about the Confer- ence. I had such a great experience meeting people, attending concur- rent sessions, and being part of the lobbying on "The Hill." Throughout the conference, the theme, "From Passion to Action," was ever present; I began looking at what a difference I can make as a young Jewish leader for myself, my family and for the conununity, and am now more inspired to fur- ther my Jewish education and increase my observance of all things Jewish. Of the many won- derful sessions I attended, "Find- ing the Holy in the Mundane" was particularly meaningful. Den- nis Prager and Rabbi Rachel Sabath spoke beautifully on how we may invest time, situations and objects with holiness and how we are altered in the process. Because I was so inspired by Dennis Prager, I purchased the cassette tape of another session in which he spoke, "Why Be Jew- ish?" and I look forward to read- ing his books. All in all, Washing- ton 11 proved to be fun, moving, and inspirational. We as a com- munity should aim to double tho size of our delegation for Wash- ington 12 in 2000. Charles G. Nusbaum, Jr. I attended a session entitled, "Jewish Leaders: Do They Really Lead the Jewish People?" Shoshana Cardin made a state- ment, which, at first, I did not agree with: "You may be qualified to chair a local United Way Cam- paign, but that does not make you qualified to chair the Federation's campaign." My initial thought was, "Fundraising for the United Way is equivalent to the Tikun Olam mission of the Federation's campaign." Yet, the more I spoke with others and thought about it, the more I came to realize the importance of the "Jewish" lead- ership aspect. A provocative ques- tion raised was, "Can you be a Jewish leader without the check to back it up?" Shoshana Cardin said sometimes, but not often. This is where I am not in complete agree- ment. The Jewish community needs time as well as money from its leaders in some cases, the expenditure of time may be even more valuable. Overall, the con- versations were stimulating and provocative. Stephanie Calliott With 3,000 young leaders in Washington, D.C. for the biennial UJA National Young Leadership Conference, it would make sense to feature nationally and interna- tionally renown speakers in 5 ple- naries and over 50 concurrent ses- sions. One session entitled "Why Be ,,, Jewish. featured writer, lecturer, and talk show host Dennis Prager, and David Elcott, Vice President of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL). While the rifle may seem rhetori- cal, it became evident in the ses- sion that it is often "how to be Jewish" that we focus upon, i.e., how to balance Jewish activities in our daily lives or how to keep Jewish traditions allve in 0 faro, ilies. However, it is the "why" that we often lose sight of or maybe never address in the first place. Are we Jewish because our par- ents are Jews, or because that is the religion and path we have cho- sen for ourselves? How many of us are informed about our her- itage, our traditions and the Torah but have not embraced why being Jewish is important? Why should we practice Judaism? Why should we be active in the Jewish com- munity? The answers are endless and we can look to many resources and mentors in our own community to find the right ones for each of us. Of the mariy memorable insights of this session, one made by Dennis Prager will remain with me: "The purpose of religion is not to make you feel good, it is to make you do good." This message has struck a per- sonal chord. I believe that feeling good about Judaism is the first step to doing good. It was certain- ly evident among the 3,000 attending Washington 11. We were able to "feel good" and then "do good" by concluding the 3 day conference with visits to our Congressmen and Senators on Capitol Hill. We have so many opportunities in our community to "do good." By knowing both the "how" and "why" of being Jewish we can continue to build on our already strong foundation. Betty Ann Levy All of the speakers at the Young Leadership Washington Conference were very good, but in particular I enjoyed Dennis Prager's talk on "Why be Jew- ish?" and Rabbi Kushner's talk on Jewish spirituality. While we hear many of the same speakers here in Norfolk, they seem more engag- ing at this conference. Perhaps the energy level of 3,000 plus people makes the speakers more motivat- ed. I enjoyed seeing old friends from past missions to Israel, pre- vious conferences and fellow National Young Leadership Cabi- net members. David Leon Betsy and I had a wonderful time at the conference. It was a good opportunity to get to know our regional colleagues better. In addition, we were able to meet Jews from different parts of the country and to talk with them about issues relevant to theft dom- munities. The best seminar we attended was entitled, "The Peace Process - What's Happening Now?" Both Dennis Prager (Special Middle East Coordinator for the Depart- ment of State) and Eliahu Ben- Elissar (Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.) provided the American and Israeli positions on the "Peace Process." In an interesting con- trast, the two representatives spoke about on-going discussions, each interpreting the situation dif- ferently. The best conversation I had at the conference was with a dele- gate from Pittsburgh. He was con- cemed that an important issue for American Jews was not being dis- cussed at the conference. While Jews in the U.S have emotional, national and financial ties to Israel, Israel's economy has CONTINUED ON PAGE 23 CASUAL DINING-ENTERTAINMENT m m [ FRESH LOCAL SEAFOOD- HANDCUT BEEF m t qll00Sullivan's ] / /ld_., / Norfolk,Va. TRY SOME OF OUR NEW MENU ITEMS! 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