As I get ready to close my term as Co-Chair of Jewish Nevada Young Leaders, I’ve been able to reflect on the experiences I have had and how meaningful they have been in shaping my Jewish identity. I had no sense of Jewish Community before I became involved with Jewish Nevada. I returned home from a community Birthright trip hungry for more and with little direction on how to find it. I stumbled upon the Young Adult Division almost by accident and was immediate asked to join the Board. I had no idea what that meant and no clue what was in store for me, yet felt honored that I would be asked to be a part of any governing body, so I jumped right in! My first experience with Jewish Nevada Young Leaders (JewEL at the time) was our annual retreat. Four years ago we were about 8 people sitting on the floor in a living room with chart paper covering the walls trying to determine how to engage a population of people we knew were out there, yet hadn’t met yet. I could never have dreamed that this journey would take me through engaging over 1000 participants at over 100 events while fundraising thousands of dollars for our local Jewish community, Israel, and Jews around the world. If you knew me then, you knew the shy 20 something who didn’t think she’d survive giving the Dvar Torah at the Federation’s monthly meeting. With the support of our YL Board and the Jewish Nevada staff and Execs, I grew into a woman advocating for Birthright by staffing trips and speaking at orientations, honoring lost community members at our gala, speaking out on behalf of our programs, soliciting donors to support our mission, lending a hand at every volunteer project I could, and a proud BGS level donor. I became what I believed a Jewish woman should be. And I did so alongside some of the most talented young professionals.
My Jewish connection as an adult came from my involvement with Jewish Nevada. I continue, even years later, to be inspired by our work and all the services we are able to provide to so many. I am excited for the future of our community and can’t wait to see how we will continue to further our Young Leaders mission by engaging young adults in our community through leadership, education, and social programming!