One of our new regular features at Challah Back is Meet the Board, where you get to “meet” this year’s YAD Board. Find out why so many people get involved in YAD and what inspires them!
As a San Francisco native, I grew up (whether I knew it or not) attending Federation-sponsored events and volunteering at Federation-funded organizations. And having worked at Federation both in the Bay Area and in Israel, I know how important Federation’s work is globally. I consider my involvement on the YAD Board as the most important installment in my history of involvement with Federation. By building a strong young adult community, we ensure a strong future generation of Jewish leaders here in the Bay Area.
My love affair with Federation began all the way back in the summer of 1998. A fresh-faced sophomore at UC Berkeley already waste-deep in Israel-related campus activism, I decided that the Federation’s Israel Center was a perfect place to spend my summer. Through the Kohn Summer Intern Program (a program of the Federation-sponsored Jewish Vocational Services), I spent two months developing Israel-relating programs for use on college campuses. When I graduated from Cal in 2000, I took a full-time campus outreach position at the Israel Center.
All the while, I was also preparing to move to Israel the following year to participate in Project Otzma, a program jointly administered by the Jewish Agency for Israel, United Jewish Communities, and — you guessed it — the SF Federation. It was during my year on Project Otzma that I got to see first-hand the amazing work our Federation does in Israel. I worked in non-profit, grass roots organizations such as Hafuch al HaFuch that use Federation funds to serve the vital needs of Israel’s disadvantaged communities, and with the municipalities SF Federation’s sister communities in the Upper Galilee.
Benny Klafter (right) performing community service with a student group in Kiryat Shmona, Israel.
Upon my return to the Bay Area, I redoubled my campus outreach efforts on behalf of the Israel Center. It was ultimately only the tantalizing allure of unknown adventure in far-flung, exotic locales (law school in Davis) that succeeded in tearing me away from my work at Federation. Since returning to the city, I’ve continued to devote much time and energy to Federation.
My roll on the board this year is as Shabbat and Holiday Chair. While YAD puts on some amazing social events and offers an array of great volunteer opportunities, some of us in the community want to see more options for the celebration of Shabbats and holidays. Through our periodic YAD Shabbats — hosted by YAD members in their homes — and upcoming holiday events, we hope to add a new and exciting dimension to YAD’s programming.
The first YAD Community Shabbat of the year will take place Dec. 19. E-mail us if you are interested in attending future Shabbats, or (even better!) in hosting one.
Shabbat and Holiday Chair
Young Adults Division Board