Jackie: Tell us about your new role with Federation, what are you most excited about!
Nicole: My new role as the Young Leadership Associate and Social Innovation Coordinator will consist of engaging with members of the community who are in their 20’s and 30’s and building relationships with them to help them connect with the Jewish Federation. I want to help young professionals find an outlet within the Federation through community involvement, leadership development and philanthropy. I am very excited that I will have the opportunity to coordinate the ConnectGens Fellowship here which empowers social innovators with training, tools and connections to transform their big ideas into ventures that will enhance our community. I will also be working on the Nexus series this spring, which is a six-session young leadership course for young professionals who are interested in connecting to the Federation and the work we do.
Jackie: What is the ConnectGens Fellowship, who should apply?
Nicole: The ConnectGens Fellowship empowers social innovators with training, tools and connections to transform their BIG IDEAS into ventures that will mobilize our Jewish community. Fellows connect with talented mentors, motivated peers and inspiring coaches to invigorate social change and turn their innovative ideas into reality. The Fellowship is open to individuals of all ages and anyone living in DC, MD or VA with an idea to enhance community life
Jackie: Can you tell us about some past ConnectGens Fellows and what they are now doing?
Nicole: Elizabeth Weingarten a 2013 Fellow started Tribelle which is a multi-style jewelry collection with a mission to cultivate female entrepreneurship in Israel by supporting businesswomen and the organizations that incubate their ventures. Elizabeth believes that women’s businesses are the key to economic revival across communities and countries, and to healthier, better educated kids around the world. As a Jewish woman, she started TRIBELLE to support women’s enterprises in her broader community: Israel. You can check out Tribelle and the amazing work they are doing by visiting http://tribelle.co/
Max Levitt, a 2013 Fellow created a venture called Leveling the Playing Field which today has become a viable non-profit, where they donate lightly used sporting equipment to underprivileged kids. Their mission is to give underprivileged children the opportunity to enjoy the pleasures of athletic involvement. In just two years of operation they have donated over $500,000 worth of sporting equipment to over 40 programs. To find out more about the incredible strides that Max is making through Leveling the Playing Field please visit http://www.levelingtheplayingfield.org/
Jackie: Who is your favorite Jewish role model?
Nicole: When I was living in Israel for the past two years, I had the pleasure of meeting a very special soul, Rabbi Shu Eliovson, who truly changed my life and taught me a whole new perspective on Judaism. Rabbi Shu sees the beauty of everything in life and is able to connect the spirituality of Judaism to all of his teachings. If you find yourself near Kfar Maimon in Israel go pay a visit to Rabbi Shu at the Golden Shore, I promise you won’t be sorry!
Jackie: What is your favorite Jewish food?
Nicole: That’s a hard one; I’m going to have to go with my top two, brisket and chicken matzah ball soup. These are my two specialties that I like to cook!
Jackie: Where are most likely to run into you on a Sunday afternoon?
Nicole: Trumpeldor Beach in Tel Aviv J
Finish the sentence: When the Jews Gather…
Nicole: There will be excitement, disputes, ruach and an excess of delicious food!