Jewish Journal

Brimming with young leaders

by Dikla Kadosh

November 13, 2007 | 3:15 pm

The sensually-lit private room at Celadon on the corner of Fairfax Avenue and 3rd Street could barely contain the steady flow of incomers. Martinis and munchies in hand, 20 and 30-somethings spilled over into the adjacent bar area, furnished with sumptuous Oriental couches and drapery reminiscent of a Moroccan palace. Executive Chef Danny Elmaleh was born in Israel to a Moroccan father and Japanese mother and fuses the two cultures in his cuisine…but that’s a whole other story.

More than 100 people attended “Martinis & Mitzvahs for a Cause,” last Wednesday night’s kick-off for the newest “young Jewish professionals” group to sprout in our dynamic community: Jewish Family Service’s Young Leaders (not to be confused with the Jewish Federation’s Young Leadership Division).

Young Leaders is the brainchild of several JFS board members’ children, who were inspired by their parents’ devotion to L.A.‘s oldest and largest social service agency.  Their mission is to assemble a group of tikkun olam-minded people together to contribute - time not money - to the various programs JFS runs: shelters, domestic violence hotlines, soup kitchens, counseling centers, senior assistance and more.

Susie Forer-Dehrey, the Associate Executive Director at JFS, described the type of people they think will be drawn to Young Leaders: hands-on, action-oriented young Jews who want to do more than just fund-raise for worthy causes; people who want to see the direct consequences of their involvement; people who would like to contribute as little or as much time as their schedules allow and pick and choose their areas of passion. And if they happen to develop a “passion” for one of their fellow volunteers, then great! Mazel Tov! Mitzvot with a side of mating…

Though the details are still being worked out, the Young Leaders seem to be off to a terrific start with an overwhelming initial response and a hip launch party. To get on board this snappin’ new venture, email Young Leaders at youngleaders@jfsla.org.

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Written by Danielle Berrin and Dikla Kadosh

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