Ten Jewish 20-Somethings Participate
in First Millstone Institute Series
THE LENS, a new interactive, innovative and immersive leadership program for St. Louis Jewish adults who are interested in issues of community change, is the first series presented by the newly-created Millstone Institute for Jewish Leadership. The 10 participants, which included graduate students and young adults in the workforce ages 22–29, represented diverse denominations, interests and involvements in the St. Louis Jewish and non-Jewish community.
The first group met four times in 2011 from November – December. Through field assignments, guest speakers and working sessions, participants had the opportunity to view the Jewish community and current challenges through their own “lens,” develop connections with community leaders and enhance their assessment, interview and presentation skills in ways that can be applied to both their professional and volunteer careers. They explored Jewish values and learned to replace or validate one’s assumptions and biases through first-hand observation and experience.
Using a photographic term “the lens,” the first session aptly took place at Ferguson & Katzman Photography Studio in the city of St. Louis. The group met with community leaders to learn about collaborative and coalition building that is being done in St. Louis’ Central West End.
Through field visits and their own research, they learned about issues of poverty, education and interfaith understanding and the Jewish community’s response. Participants visited with representatives from The Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry and the Bohm Social Justice Initiatives of the JCRC. The final session took place at the Missouri History Museum. The group met with Maxine Clark, CEO and Chief Bear of Build a Bear Workshop, and Bob Millstone, Chair of Jewish Federation of St. Louis. The program focused on leadership styles, and participants developed their own personal action plans.
Participants shared that they would recommend the program to others and most likely would do some follow up on their own with some of the speakers and community leaders they met. Main takeaways included exposure to the important work in the Jewish community, learning about different leadership styles and approaches, the impact of networking and the importance of getting involved and surrounding oneself with the right people.
The 10 young adults who took the series were: Abbie Barash, a religious studies graduate; Lauren Brenner, attorney; Jake Goldstein, marketing professional; Andrea Kass, graduate student; Heidi Morris, financial advisor; Kinneret Nahamani, Operations Rep; Rafi Nemes, attorney; Melanie Paticoff, grad student; Emily Thal, development associate, and Seth Williams, event promotions manager.
The program was co-led by local consultant and trainer, Allison Collinger, and Karen Sher, Senior Program Associate of the Millstone Institute for Jewish Leadership. The Institute engages and inspires volunteer leaders and professionals and is the first program of its kind in the country addressing leadership across the spectrum of the entire Jewish community. The Institute is made possible by support from the Lubin-Green Foundation, a supporting foundation of Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and the Millstone Foundation.