Although Joshua Einstein raises some valid points, his recent opinion piece does not accurately portray the history or current state of the United Jewish Appeal presence in Hoboken.
For many years, Hoboken has been a part of JFNA’s Network of Independent Communities, the umbrella group for Jewish communities not served by local federations. As a part of the Network, we have run an all-volunteer annual campaign and allocation process for several decades. In addition, we have sponsored many successful events, brought in engaging and informative speakers, and sent participants to regional and national conferences, including the Jewish Federation of North America’s Tribefest conference for national young leadership.
Contrary to Mr. Einstein’s contention, Hoboken has been attracting post-college Jewish young adults for at least the past 20 years. In fact, before the existence of Moishe House and other Jewish young adult groups, we had a very active and thriving UJA young leadership division.
During these years, Hoboken and the rest of the Hudson County community have partnered successfully with our neighboring federations in various ways, including those listed by Mr. Einstein. These initiatives have been undertaken with the input and participation of many local professional and lay leaders, and in my opinion they have been to the benefit of both the Hudson County Jewish community and the federation communities to which many of our young leaders eventually move.
Throughout all of these efforts, we have been supported by Ed Finkel and his predecessors at the Network. We owe them a big thank you for shepherding a small community through a period of enormous growth. If we are now ready for a more established federation presence – and I believe we are – it is in no small part due to their efforts and guidance.
As we move forward in determining the best way to bring such a presence to Hudson County, we need to learn from the lessons of our recent past and we need to involve a broad crossâ€“section of professional and lay leaders locally and from our neighboring federations. In the meantime, I invite Mr. Einstein and the rest of the young Jewish adults in Hudson County to support our local UJA campaign and to join us as we continue to strengthen our vibrant and growing community.