Current, former, and prospective members of National Young Leadership Cabinet gather at the home of Franklin and Lana Pargh to kick off the new year of programming and learning.
By Shannon Small
The Jewish Federations of North America’s National Young Leadership Cabinet is where the future of organized Jewish life is nurtured and developed. Each year young adults between the ages of 30-45 from around the country devote time, energy, and resources to strengthening their involvement in and commitment to Jewish communities around the world. Cabinet members embark on a five-year curriculum that builds on a series of Jewish values focused on training volunteer leaders. Nashville’s growing Jewish community is reflected in the increase in local Cabinet members. Currently there are 10, which is more than twice the number just two years ago and includes one of the National Cabinet Co-Chairs. This year’s local cohort recently kicked off their new year with an event hosted by Franklin and Lana Pargh. Participants learned about National Young Leadership Cabinet, plans for the upcoming year, and broke into small groups to get to know each other better and share their values, interests, and experiences in the Jewish community and Jewish philanthropy. Franklin Pargh says he was inspired to see so much enthusiasm the year. “The Cabinet kickoff event was incredible because we're in the early stages of growing the Nashville branch, yet we have members of such high caliber. It's amazing to see all of these bright minds enthusiastically collaborating and working together towards the same goal.”
For those who are returning Cabinet members, the event served as a reminder not only of where leadership begins, but also how it continues to build throughout the years. Veteran Cabinet member Batia Karabel says she was inspired listening to former members who have continued to lead the community. “This kickoff was particularly meaningful as it was an opportunity to speak with and learn from former Cabinet Chevre from Nashville. Fred and Moshe, role models for us in our own community, shared with us why the Cabinet experience is so foundational to the Nashville Jewish community.” And returning Cabinet member Amy Goldstein agreed that hearing from community leaders inspires everyone, “In addition to welcoming our amazing new Cabinet members, I loved connecting with Cabinet alumni, like Moishe Werthan and Fred Zimmerman, who continue to do important work in Nashville and beyond and who set a strong example for the rest of us to follow.”
A key component of that Cabinet experience is the opportunity to meet other like-minded young professionals, and to develop a network of connections which serves as a pipeline for leadership opportunities across major Jewish organizations. New Cabinet member Rachel Whitney says, “It was incredible to meet other Jewish professionals from across the country who were committed to investing in their community. I'm excited to get to know my Cabinet class and contribute to the work Federation is doing around the world." And new Cabinet member, Alex Brown, echoed those thoughts and said gathering in person helped make the valuable connections that will carry him through his Cabinet term. “The kickoff event was my first opportunity to connect with the leaders in the Nashville community who I will be joining on Cabinet. The immediate connection with all in attendance and meaningful discussions only served to confirm my decision to join Cabinet.”