To the Leadership of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Federations:
Inspired by the words of the renowned sage and scholar Hillel, who said, “If not now, when?” (Mishnah Avot 1:14), we, the undersigned members of the Twin Cities Jewish community, ask leadership of both the St. Paul and Minneapolis Jewish Federations, for the good of the whole community, to defer their respective search processes for a new, permanent CEO for the necessary time it takes to seriously and fully consider new possibilities in a changed landscape.
This is a pivotal moment in our Twin Cities’ Jewish history. With both Federations’ CEO positions open, we have a unique opportunity, and obligation, to take a renewed look beyond our ever more porous city borders and develop new solutions to strengthen Twin Cities Jewish life as well as Jewish life overseas.
Building on the soon-to-be-published research and recommendations of the Twin Cities Jewish Community Cooperation Panel (an outcome of the St. Paul Community Planning Process listening sessions), we call for a task force from a demographically diverse cross-section of Jewish citizens (Federation donors and non) from across the Twin Cities to come together and explore fresh opportunities.
While we cannot predict the conclusions of a task force ahead of time, we do know:
- All Jews are responsible for one another. Kol Yisrael arevim zeh b’zeh. (Talmud Shavu’ot 39A); This is the rallying cry of both Federations to give generously to help Jews here and abroad. In today’s Twin Cities, Jews reside in St. Paul, and work in Bloomington. They live in Minneapolis and daven in Mendota Heights. The current boundaries of Federated participation and giving seem fluid and artificial in this day and age. We should be focused on strengthening our Jewish community as a whole.
- We have the potential to build an even more welcoming, cohesive and appealing Jewish community for prospective residents, and one that will retain more of our young people, for college and after graduation.
- We want to explore more fully how a bi-city effort could open the door for new donors to feel they are contributing to an innovative organization built for the future, while continuing to support the vital programs and services of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
- We want local Jews to consider a possible new umbrella structure for Federation activities that supports all Twin Cities Jews, and respects and highlights the cultural differences and strengths of greater Minneapolis and St. Paul.
- Depending on the results of this task force, the CEO search process could look different than it does today; hence the prudence of postponing the permanent CEO search.
Now is the time to conduct due diligence on behalf of Twin Cities Jews, and consider redefining us echad, as one. Therefore, we respectfully ask both Federations to allow for the time necessary to thoughtfully and intentionally complete this task.
Dominic D. Ackerman, member Beth Jacob, resident St. Louis Park
Orit Ackerman, Harry Kay applicant ‘16
Robert Aronson, Harry Kay ‘95, Board of Directors, HIAS
Jennifer Bagdade, Harry Kay ‘13
Fran Bayer, Harry Kay ’03, Harry Kay Leadership Coordinator ’13
Arielle Bear Bloom
Tim Broms, Harry Kay ‘99
Lev Buslovich, Harry Kay ‘13
Joan Carples, Harry Kay ’99
Steve Carples, Harry Kay ’99
Stuart A. Chazin, Harry Kay ’94
Martin S. Chester, Harry Kay ‘08
Daniel Feder, Harry Kay ’03
Hillary Feder, Harry Kay ’03
Linda Fiterman, General Campaign Chair (2000) and former Major Gifts Chair of the Mpls Jewish Federation
Mark Goldberg, member of Mount Zion
Cheryl Goldenberg, Harry Kay ’13
David Goldenberg, Harry Kay ’13
Joel Goldsmith, Harry Kay ‘13
Bruce E. Goldstein
Jill Gottlieb, Harry Kay ‘99
Steve Gottlieb, Harry Kay ‘99
Jon Halper, Harry Kay ‘13
Sarah Hanly, Harry Kay ’13
Michael Harad, Harry Kay ’08
Jerry Ingber, Wexner Heritage Foundation Alumnus, Past President, Sabes Jewish Community Center, Past Trustee, Jewish Community Foundation, Past Member, Mpls Jewish Federation Overseas Allocation Committee
Leora Itman, Jewfolk Media, Inc. (Founder, TCJewfolk.com and President of the Board of Directors)
Robert Karasov, Harry Kay ‘95
Robert Kelen, Harry Kay ’98
Kathryn Klibanoff, Past Trustee, Jewish Community Foundation
Deborah Kohler, Harry Kay ‘98
David Kohn, Harry Kay ‘99
Eileen Kohn, Harry Kay ‘99
Robert Kramer, Harry Kay ‘99
Steve Lear, Harry Kay ‘95, Chair, Jewish Community Foundation of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation
Charles Levine, Harry Kay ‘13
Daniel Lieberman, Harry Kay ‘95
Betty Sue Lipschultz
Dr. David Lipschultz
Kris MacDonald, Past President of Mpls Jewish Federation
Neil M. Meyer, Wexner Fellow
Neil Moses-Zirkes, Harry Kay ‘13
Marissa Onheiber, VP of Marketing/Communications at HMJDS
Jeremy Pierotti, Harry Kay ’03
Tammie Rosenbloom, Harry Kay ‘94
Tom Sanders, Chairman of the Board, Harry Kay Charitable Foundation
Susan Saxl, Harry Kay ‘99
David Segal, Wexner Heritage Series 1985-1988, Minneapolis Jewish Federation Board Member and Executive Committee Member
Dannon Shiff, Harry Kay ‘13
Alene G. Sussman, Minneapolis Jewish Federation Board of Directors, Harry Kay ’13
Loren J. Taple, Harry Kay ‘13
Alex Tselos, Harry Kay ‘13
Rachael Vegas, Harry Kay ‘13
Amy Weiss, Harry Kay ‘03
Dan Weiss, Harry Kay ‘03
Sandra Weiss-Lynn, Harry Kay ‘08
Drew Zamansky, Harry Kay ’13
Natalie Zamansky, Harry Kay ’13
Ronald A. Zamansky
If you would like to add your signature to this letter, visit http://tinyurl.com/JewishTwinCities.
*The views expressed here are solely the signatories’ own and do not represent the views of the listed organizations.
Also published in the American Jewish World, September 23 edition.