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This past Sunday, 68 passionate, committed and talented young people graduated from our Community Leadership Institute (CLI). It is the culmination of over a year spent together learning about leadership and the challenges facing our community.

I had the privilege of being one of their first speakers when the program began 15 months ago, and again this past Sunday when I was the final speaker at their graduation.

The following is what I expressed to them:

“Today is a celebration of all you have learned and all you have done together this past year. But the most important day in your leadership training is tomorrow, because tomorrow is when the real work begins. Tomorrow is when you all become change agents. As you know, we are in a time of great challenge and uncertainty — which means it is also a time of opportunity. This is your chance to apply what you have learned — to turn ideas into reality and make a significant impact.”

“Something I learned about leadership is that, while leadership is not about always being at the front of the room, it’s about always being in the room — being in the community.”

The Federation is in the room. That’s why we created this program — to make sure all of the organizations in Jewish Los Angeles can count on a next generation of leaders that has what it takes to serve. These passionate individuals are ready to roll up their sleeves and find partners with whom they can do the work. Young people who understand our communal challenges and are determined to turn them into opportunities, just like we do at the Federation every day.

The CLI graduates and other passionate leaders in our community are the future. Their commitment and dedication is inspiring. It will guide them on their Jewish journeys and serve us all in the years ahead.

We welcome everyone to join us in our essential work to support and sustain our Jewish community today and build a Jewish community we can all be proud of for generations to come. The opportunities are endless.

Wishing you a Happy Chanukah,

Jay Sanderson
President & CEO

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