Whenever there is a new community initiative, it can seem as though the leaders who rise up to organize, strategize and execute the plans tend to simply know what is expected and exactly how to complete the task.
Those on the inside know differently.
There is always a backstory, a side to the situation that others have yet to see, and may never fully be aware of.
The Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Emerging Generation (EG) Division has a new leadership team for the coming year, with some key individuals making an encore appearance – and for a good reason.
The incoming co-chairs say they have made continuity amongst the division leadership a top priority. Adam Aronson, who co-chaired the EG Division with Arielle Kreisman this past year, said the staggered, two-year terms many Federation co-chair duos adopt should also work well for the EG.
Aronson said this is especially important for a fledgling division like EG, which is only about four years old. Ariel Fainer took over as the division’s director late last summer as the second director ever, and together, first-timers Fainer, Aronson and Kreisman strove to build on the foundation that had already been in place.
“That’s why I’m staying on,” Aronson said. “When Ariel, Arielle, and I all started new last year, I think it took a little bit more time than it needed to sort of really get ahold of, and understand, what the campaign was all about. And so that’s why we felt the continuity [for this year] worked out beautifully.”
The challenges are complex. The emerging generation community in Ottawa is always in transition with many moving here and moving away for job opportunities. It is fluid. Families are formed, people grow older, priorities and paradigms shift seemingly instantly. And the leadership must reflect that in order for programming, events and fundraising to continue.
Aronson said he is now looking forward to teaming up with Danya Vered to co-chair the coming year’s EG Campaign.
Vered comes from a “family of volunteers” and said it was her time to step up and give back in a big way.
Chatting with Vered, it is obvious she not only carefully considers these unique characteristics, but also seeks to make sense of them in order to best serve the community. Vered travelled for school and work, spending time in Montreal, London, England, and Jerusalem before coming back to Ottawa for a job opportunity, one of the main reasons why Ottawa’s young adult community is so fluid.
“Everything is always ‘for the foreseeable future’ in Ottawa,” she joked when talking about how long the emerging generation tends to reside in Ottawa.
“There are a lot of different reasons why each generation is different, has a different character and, by extension, donates or engages with the community differently,” she said. “I think the beauty of a more modern community is that we recognize those differences as strengths and approach them as such.”
Vered may be a familiar face to some, and, if not, her last name is quickly recognizable. Her father, the late philanthropist Arnie Vered, passed away from pancreatic cancer last summer. Vered said she and her five siblings are each trying to find ways to step up and continue on that path of community giving.
“He really exemplified philanthropy by example,” she said. “We all thought that we had more time with our dad to learn from him and from his experiences volunteering in the community, and, tragically, he was taken from us too soon.”
Vered said she hopes to honour her father’s legacy through her own contributions this year, as well as solidify the character of the emerging generation and bring out its best attributes. The co-chairs and committee recently had their first meeting to discuss this year’s strategy.
A generation from now, the Federation’s EG Division likely will look very different, its backstory only known by a select few. Aronson and Vered each said they hope its legacy is one of proactive engagement by building on the inspiring precedents of giving that have already been set.
“Oftentimes, the best way to get others invested in the community is to step up yourself and ask others to do the same,” Vered said.