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MJDS, BBYO create strong Jewish leaders

Read this story in Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

By Janaan Glass

I recently moved away from Milwaukee leaving my position as marketing and communications director at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School.

I know that the Milwaukee Jewish Federation is in the middle of its 2015 Annual Campaign, and I wanted to share an observation that makes me proud to have worked in the Milwaukee Jewish community and at MJDS in particular.

Individually, MJF agencies have important, distinctive ways of keeping Judaism alive and thriving; yet the agencies are greater together because they build upon and strengthen one another. I saw this first hand with MJDS and BBYO.

MJDS instills in its students a love of Judaism and prepares them to become leaders who are engaged in the community. BBYO provides experiences that strengthen Jewish identity and build leadership skills. Together, they make a big impact on the future of the Jewish community.

This year, eight of the 12 BBYO regional board members are MJDS alumni, and presidents Hilary Miller and Aaron Glazer were MJDS classmates. Both credit their MJDS experiences with inspiring them to take on these roles.

Aaron told me that most MJDS students join BBYO, and that he decided to get involved to maintain a connection to Judaism after life at MJDS. He also said MJDS teaches students that everyone can find a way to be a leader, whether they are introverts or extroverts, and that everyone can make an impact.

Hillary told me that it’s cool to try hard at MJDS, and the extra attention she received from her teachers gave her the confidence to voice her opinion and to be a leader. If she sees something wrong, she says something instead of passively standing by. She ran for BBYO regional board president because Jewish continuity is important to her.

While I imagine that links between all of MJF’s partner agencies are strong, I can only speak MJDS graduates and their involvement in BBYO. Aaron and Hillary are great examples of how the relationship between these two organizations is helping ensure that we have young leaders who are passionate about ensuring a strong future for our Jewish community.

Janaan Glass, former marketing and communications director at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School.

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