About three and half years ago, Shaked and I packed my car up with all of my stuff in Miami, and started a long road trip back to where I grew up – here in the Twin Cities. See, Shaked was trying to decide if she’d join me in Minnesota, but before that, she wanted to know we’d be closer to my family. My parents were still living in Mendota Heights then, in my childhood home. Back then I worked in commercial real estate, and came to Minnesota with a job in hand, ready to take over the world. I was motivated by my desire to give back to the Jewish community – to be one of those big machers.
After another 18 months working on making some wealthy folks wealthier, Shaked and I had a serious discussion about what I wanted my life to look like – how I wanted to expend my energies in the next few years.
I had been keeping the organized, institutional Jewish world at arm’s length up to that point, feeling like so many others that the Jewish institutions didn’t reflect my priorities or values. Then I saw a chance to make a change, not only in my life, but maybe in the lives of other folks here in the Twin Cities. After a phone call with my dear friend, Todd, I was connected with the Jewish Federations of Minneapolis and Saint Paul and had a lunch interview set up for only a few days later. Within two weeks, I was moving into my new workspaces in Highland Park and Minnetonka.
Fast forward another 20 months
I find myself on the cusp of another new adventure. Some know that my father-in-law, Tzvika, passed away three months ago. That event sparked a series of discussions that led Shaked and I to decide we wanted to be closer to my parents (recognize a theme here?) and they had moved down to Florida a few months after I had taken the role as the Young Adult Engagement Manager.
And so here we are – suddenly less than two weeks away from our departure, and I have to take a moment to reflect on the amazing work we’ve been able to accomplish together in the past couple of years. Young adults are getting more integrated into leadership roles around the Twin Cities, we’ve brought in and started up a variety of new programs and initiatives (like 248, HMI, BRI, YALA, JLink, and more) as well as strengthened and put additional support behind some of the more established groups and projects (like Makom, NextGen, MoHo, YJP, and more).
I leave here with a great deal of sadness for finally leaving my first hometown, likely for the last time. I’ll always maintain my connections (through my giving, and my doing) to the Twin Cities Jewish ecosystem. I have a great deal of hope for the future of the Twin Cities, and I can’t wait to come visit and see how things continue to grow and progress. Shaked and I have made a commitment to ourselves to continue our annual gifts to our favorite organizations here in the Twin Cities – my (and Shaked’s adopted) hometown.
Continue to listen to folks you don’t normally listen to, understand that we are stronger together (Twin Cities – not Minneapolis and Saint Paul), and know that you can do Jewish however you want.
If you’d like to get a chance to say goodbye, as well as see how impactful the work of YALA has been in the last year, be sure to come by the Libertine on January 30th – Pre-Register for a free drink ticket (also good for food).
Stay classy, MSP.