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Jews are responsible for one another

Locally, change came first

At the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, change is well under way as a new generation assumes leadership.

With the Adler Family Innovation Fund, launched a few months ago, the federation embraced a new model of spurring communal creativity.

The fund received 70 proposals from a variety of institutions for projects locally and overseas, said David Gad-Harf, the federation’s chief operating officer and for six months its interim chief executive. It expects to announce successful proposals next month, and hopes to have $300,000 in dedicated funding for them.

“The process we’ve been following for the innovation fund is like a test of the way we’re going to be approaching all funding going forward,” he said. “We’ll identify priorities for the community, issue requests for proposals, make selections, monitor performance, and see that the agencies accomplish what they set out to do.

“We’ve been a traditional federation, a federation that raises money in a traditional manner, disburses money in a traditional manner, relates to agencies in a traditional manner. We’ve awakened to the reality that in order to thrive in the future, we have to make changes in all three areas,” said Gad-Harf.

These changes emerged from the federation’s strategic planning process. David Goodman, 47, who assumed the post of the federation’s president last month, led the implementation of the new strategic plan. But Jason Shames, who assumed the role of federation chief executive officer this week at the age of 40, came into the federation with the changes already well underway.

“This isn’t like going out to the O.K. Coral and building from scratch,” he said about his new post. “We have quality leadership, quality staff, and quality institutions.”

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