The Federation plays a vital role as a community convener – bringing together Jewish organizations to address important communal issues.
In May 2017, the Federation brought together 50 community leaders from 25 Jewish organizations to identify and address our most pressing cross-communal challenges.
To lead us in this work, the Federation secured the services of Rabbi Doug Kahn. For 27 years, Rabbi Kahn served as the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council in San Francisco. Rabbi Kahn is highly regarded nationally for his leadership and consensus-building skills in resolving contentious issues.
With the Federation and Rabbi Kahn leading, a smaller subgroup of this initial 50 continued gathering to narrow issues of concern and identify solutions. The group pinpointed a need for greater community cohesiveness in order for Jewish Puget Sound to realize its potential for growth and innovation in Jewish life. Cohesiveness was defined as three commitments:
- Grow a welcoming, supportive environment to promote Jewish engagement among Jews with diverse backgrounds and views
- Foster greater cooperation and respect among Jewish institutions
- Reach new heights as a community through community-wide initiatives
The convening process identified seven top-priority initiatives, each with a team headed by a different leader:
- Create a cohesive newcomers initiative
- Create a vibrant Jewish Community Relations Council
- Launch a substantial civil discourse initiative throughout the community
- Regularly convene heads of major Jewish organizations
- Develop a leadership pipeline for communal institutions, including a leadership development program
- Create greater inter-organizational understanding and collaboration
- Grow a robust Jewish educational program across organizational lines
The Federation Convenes Organizations to Build Cohesion
An article about the Community Convening Initiative in Jewish In Seattle magazine, August/September 2018 issue