By Randi Hertzberg
Chair, Dor Tikvah, 2010-12
“Dor Tikvah has been a great experience for me. It really opened my eyes to THE ASSOCIATED and the enormity of what they do in Baltimore and around the world. It also gave me the opportunity to meet many great leaders in the area to hear about what they do and what is needed to be a leader myself. I really enjoyed getting to know the women in my group who share my passion for the Jewish people and desire to be involved in their future.”
– Cheryl Abrams, Dor Tikvah Class 2010-12
This spring, 19 women from Jewish Baltimore will graduate from Dor Tikvah, a transformative women’s leadership program through THE ASSOCIATED. No, they won’t be wearing caps and gowns. And they won’t march down an aisle to Pomp and Circumstance.
Instead, they will celebrate their two-year journey—one that took them from discussions about leaders and leadership to discovery about their Jewish identity. For two years, I’ve had the privilege of leading this group, which met monthly from September 2010 through May 2012.
I’ve watched these women who started as individuals from diverse backgrounds and different stages of their lives grow into a cohesive group with common goals: to leave the world better than how they found it, to teach the importance of tikkun olam to their children and to lead by example. They have become more confident in their thoughts and ideas about philanthropy, Judaism, and making change in the world.
Each class provided something new and different to explore. During a leadership personality program, our group learned about their distinct personality styles – one that defines how each woman interacts and works with others. Other sessions delved into the meaning of leadership, from both Jewish (Biblical) and practical perspectives.
We shared our stories, always with laughter and frequently with tears. I’ll never forget hearing how each of us create rituals in the home – from a pair of Shabbat candlesticks once belonging to a grandmother to holiday menus and treasured photographs.
We learned about the hands-on work performed by the 14 different agencies and countless programs that receive ASSOCIATED dollars. It was fascinating to learn more about the challenging allocations process and try our hand at an exercise where we divided funds for a myriad of worthwhile programs. We went behind the scenes at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, delving into their archives of Jewish Baltimore. We saw agencies in action.
“I gained so many things by participating in the Dor Tikvah Program. To begin, I gained a better understanding of what an incredible organization THE ASSOCIATED is and how fortunate I am to have them in my own backyard. As a result of my experience, I became more connected because it provided me a sense of community and made me extremely proud to be a part of something so worthwhile. Personally, it forced me to take the time to reflect on my own Jewish values and beliefs and what they mean to me….something I rarely (if ever) do and I am thankful for the opportunity.”
– Michelle Harf-Grim, Dor Tikvah Class 2010-12
Now, as they graduate from the program, many women in our Dor Tikvah class are gearing up for their next steps. Some are joining boards or committees within THE ASSOCIATED and its agencies. Some are taking active roles in next year’s Annual Campaign. Still others are taking what they have learned and assuming leadership roles within Jewish Baltimore.
Beyond the experience of learning about THE ASSOCIATED and themselves, our class gained another huge benefit. They became friends. They have become their own community, caring and nurturing each other, celebrating the birth of a baby, a wedding, or finishing a marathon. When one needs a shoulder, these women know they have thirty-eight.
“I have found Dor Tikvah to be a very rewarding experience for many reasons. It has been very enlightening to hear all of the “good” that THE ASSOCIATED does for our community and beyond. I always came home very inspired by the meetings and wanted to share it with my family. When you find something you are passionate about, you want to share your excitement. I think this helped to also open my husband’s and children’s eyes to THE ASSOCIATED. My oldest son found it all very interesting, and he is now in the midst of the application process for TGI and STAC*. I think being a part of Dor Tikvah helps you feel more connected to the Jewish community in Baltimore, making you want to be more involved and do your part. Dor Tikvah exposes women to all of the facets of THE ASSOCIATED so we can find our niche. I feel our Dor Tikvah class was very fortunate to have such a unique and close-knit group of women.”
– Debbie Lubliner, Dor Tikvah Class of 2010-12
These 19 women are special in so many ways. Their thoughtfulness and insights have taught me many things about myself as well. I hope they have learned as much from me, as I have learned from them. They are extraordinary and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this group. I know that these women will forever be connected by their Dor Tikvah experience. And, I know that the Baltimore Jewish community is forever going to be changed as these women start making their footprints as the next generation of Jewish leaders.
I’m not going to say I’ll miss them because I am not letting them go. We are all moving on to our next challenges and will continue to support each other. And, the first Thursday of every month will forever be … Dor Tikvah reunion night on my calendar.
For information about the next Dor Tikvah class, please contact Liz Schuman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-369-9251 or visit our website.
*Teen Giving Initiative (TGI) and Students Taking Action for Change (STAC) are teen leadership programs for high school sophomores and juniors. Participants learn about leadership, fundraising and social justice and advocacy. For information, visit www.associated.org/teens.