Day 86: The future of our community
Leah Carr and Yael Bogler are part of the future of the Jewish community. Both in their early 30s, they are the co-chairs of the UJA Young Leaders. The organization has a big job – engaging Jews who are between the ages of 22-40 – the next generation of community leaders. Leah says “the future is now. We are the people who will run the community. It’s time to get a hold on it and shape it to what we want it to be”. She says “If we can’t educate and engage people who are young – then the UJA will eventually fade away”.
Leah – who works at a small tech start-up – got involved with the UJA 10 years ago when she trained to be a Birthright leader. Yael – who is a commercial real estate lawyer – has been involved with the Jewish community her entire life. Both bring a passion and love for the community and for the work the UJA does. Yael says “it was being involved that makes you understand the depths of what UJA has to offer. It really is such an incredible organization as far as the impact it has on so many people’s lives in so many ways.” She says “it’s quite eye opening to really see the way the UJA can transform people’s lives”.
The Young Leaders group has over 300 volunteers who take part in community events and help canvass to raise money for the UJA. In the past few months, members have helped rebuild a Sukkah at the Bernard Betel Centre, they have painted a recreation room at the Kehilla Residential Programme, they have taken part in UJA’s Walk with Israel, and have held events for families to teach their kids about tzedakah. Just two weeks ago a number of the executives went to Washington for the General Assembly to join members from the Jewish Federations across North America.
This weekend is their Marquee event. Called The BIG Event over 700 young people are expected to pack the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for a night of dancing, comedy, and fun with special guest and headliner BOB SAGET. This is the first year all the people attending the event have made a donation to the annual Campaign. That means 700 young people who care and have contributed to the future of the UJA. One thing they are trying to focus on at The BIG Event is to teach young adults about all the agencies the UJA helps. Leah says “it’s not just the big agencies that get funding… we are really trying to teach people about the 95 other agencies they don’t know about”.
Last year $ 1.4 million was raised by 1400 young adults. This year 900 young adults have already contributed $1.1 million. Those running the Campaign this year say they are expecting the contributions from young adults to surpass last year’s numbers.
Leah and Yael are both volunteers but say they love what they do. Leah says “it feels like a privilege to even have the opportunity to contribute on such a high level to shaping the community and engaging young people.” They say working for this charity is extremely fulfilling and they are inspired every day by all the good the UJA does.
Through UJA you can make the biggest impact on the issues you care about most. Make a gift to UJA today.