Jewish Young Leadership Takes a Big Step Forward

Alaia Zeno and Sharon Siegel will participate in the first cohort of JFNA's Next Gen Jewish Federation Fellows, made possible by the Jim Joseph Foundation

The Federation is proud to announce that two Federation staff members – Sharon Siegel, Manager of Young Adult Engagement and Philanthropy, and Alaia Zeno, Major Gifts Officer - Next Generation and Young Families – have been named Next Gen Jewish Federation Fellows. Selected through a competitive application and interview process, the 18-month comprehensive program, made possible by the Jim Joseph Foundation, offers participants the tools and training they need to become innovators and leaders in the Jewish Next Gen space. It’s part of the broader vision for a vibrant, collective Jewish present and future.

Joining forces for the first time, The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) has brought together the North Carolina-based Center for Creative Leadership and the Jerusalem-based M2: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education to develop coursework and meaningful experiences that grow Federation professionals’ leadership skills and connect them more deeply to Judaism.

Sharon Siegel

“The Next Generation expresses identity through a convergence of personal experiences and culture, therefore Jewish young adult engagement needs to be diverse, inclusive, and authentic. My passion for fostering meaningful Jewish spaces and empowering the Next Generation of Jewish leadership inspires my ambition to take the lead in shaping the future of our Jewish community,” said Sharon Siegel.

This effort led by The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) comes at an opportune time, when creating meaningful experiences for young adults is a priority for Federations. Recent findings from the Portrait of Bay Area Jewish Life and Communities show that young adults (18-34) comprise 37% of all adults in Jewish households, a higher percentage than in any other recently conducted major American Jewish community study. And yet, many are substantially unengaged.

Alaia Zeno

Alaia Zeno added, “I believe it is critical that we learn how to strategically, thoughtfully, and authentically engage and grow the leadership of our Next Generation Jewish population … Much of what inspires me to continue this groundbreaking work and grow my own career as a leader in the Jewish community is the immense opportunity that exists, and we’ve only barely begun scratching the surface. Reaching, inspiring, engaging, and convening individuals in the Jewish Next Gen demographic to get involved is what I find most meaningful in this work.

Categories: Young Adults, Community


March 22, 2018


Nora Smith