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JCSA honors Matt Goldberg with Rodkin Fellowship

[by Shiela Steinman Wallace, Editor, Community]

Matt Goldberg, the director of Louisville’s Jewish Community Relations Council, is one of just eight Jewish professionals in North America to be honored this year by the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America.

Goldberg; KB Goodkin, director of young leadership and programming for the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York; Joanne E. Lippert, co-director of adult senior services for the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia; and Rebecca Michelle Voorwinde, co-director of strategy and community engagement for The Bronfman Fellowships in New York City, will receive the Bernard Rodkin Professional Development Israel Fellowships, which provide an opportunity for increasing knowledge and understanding of Israeli society and its social welfare system.

The recipients, who currently work in a JCSA Member Federation or National Jewish Community Organization agency in the United States or Canada, participate in a 10-day Professional Development Experience in Israel, which will enhance their community organization skills and career development.

Larry Moses, a founding director of the Wexner Foundation, and Barry Shrage, president of CJP, Greater Boston’s Jewish Federation, will be honored with the Mandelkorn Distinguished Service Award that annually recognizes significant and sustained contributions to Jewish community organization practice.

Aliza Craimer Elias, director of San Francisco’s JCRC’s Institute for Curriculum Services, and Mindy Jakir Manela, executive director of the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD, will receive JCSA Young Professional Awards, which recognize the exemplary service to their agencies and communities by talented individuals, nominated by their colleagues, who are dedicated to professional careers in the Jewish community.

The awards will be presented in a ceremony at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem on Sunday, November 10.

“The eight dedicated professionals we cite this year are all, in one way or another, educators, communicators, ambassadors, advocates and philanthropists,” said Charish, who is the National Director of Development, American Friends of Bar-Ilan University. “And they represent the thousands of their peers who tirelessly serve the Jewish communities of North America and around the world.”

“It’s a good cross section of the Jewish professional community,” Goldberg said, “and I think the organizers did a good job of getting something for each of us. We had input into our itinerary. As a JCRC professional, the things that are important to me are seeing Arab-Israeli cooperation, and as a campaign professional, the things I want to see are what the JDC [Joint Distribution Committee] and JAFI [Jewish Agency] are doing.”

The last time Goldberg was in Israel was 18 years ago. At that time, he studied and visited places like Yad Vashem and Masada, but he did not make it to Haifa and Tel Aviv, places he’s looking forward to seeing this time.

“To be chosen for this fellowship, Jewish Community of Louisville President and CEO Stu Silberman had to recommend me and wrote a letter in support of my application,” Goldberg said. “I also had to write an essay about why I want to be a Jewish professional and why it’s important to me.

“I really just spoke from the heart,” he continued. “Being a Jewish communal professional is important to me, and I love what I do, and being in Israel and experiencing Israel is an important part of my professional aspirations and for me, personally. As a JCRC professional,” he added, I spend a lot of my time defending Israel, promoting Israel and advocating for Israeli interests.”

“When I received the news from a JCSA Board member,” Goldberg said, “I was absolutely thrilled for myself and also for the community. This will really be another bridge between the Louisville Jewish community and Israel. I will make plenty of contacts; I’ll be meeting with Israelis; and I hope to bring some of their knowledge and programs back to the Jewish Community of Louisville.”

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