For David Goodman, federation is a family affair.
Goodman is the incoming president of what will be known as the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey.
When he was growing up in Fair Lawn, his parents were active in the Jewish Federation of North Jersey. His first federation leadership role came as a teenager, when he and some friends organized a walk to raise funds for Soviet Jewry.
Goodman left Bergen County to study at Tulane in New Orleans. When he returned to New Jersey and joined his father’s accounting firm, his adult federation involvement began. “My dad introduced me to the people who were his peers in federation. They saw me as a young person who was interested and I enjoyed every responsibility that was given to me,” Goodman recalled. He joined the federation board in 1993.
“I didn’t know how to say no,” he said.
Most recently, he chaired the committee charged with implementing the federation’s strategic plan. He has been campaign co-chair. And he has helped lead the federation Klene Up Krewe project, which has taken eight trips of federation volunteers to help after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.
He has also served as president of the Jewish Family Service of North Jersey and was in the first cohort of the Berrie Fellows Leadership Program.
The federation offered more than responsibility.
It gave him his bride.
“Both my mother and mother-in-law have been on the board of Jewish Family Service for a long time,” he recalled. “They never really socialized. However, some years ago, my mother-in-law was chairing a federation Women’s Division event and my mother attended. So did my lovely bride-to-be, Hope. My mom saw Hope talking to her mother. My mother fell in love with Hope and asked her if she was available.
“She actually had a blind date planned, but said if it didn’t work out I could call. And here we are,” he said.
Now, the couple has four children. Three attend the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford; all this past year joined their father as he made phone calls for Super Sunday.
“I wasn’t afraid to pick up the phone and call people and ask them to support something I believe in,” said Goodman.
Goodman’s predecessor, outgoing federation president Alan Scharfstein, said he believes Goodman “is going to be an extraordinary president. He has all the skills and qualifications for this position. He has his heart in the right place and is also a very organized individual who I think will be an extraordinary president.”
And there’s one more family connection to federation. Howard Charish, who served as the federation’s chief executive for eight years until December, is Goodman’s uncle.
“His lifetime of service to the Jewish community is an example for me to follow,” said Goodman. “He just did it on the professional side, I do it on the volunteer side.”