Making an Impact Through YAD
*This article can also be found on page 16 in the 2022 Rosh Hashanah print edition
October 14, 2022
By Jason Miller-Goodman
The San Antonio Jewish community is a vibrant and diverse Jewish community. The fact that I can go to any event in the city and see new people every single time is a testament to the work Jewish organizations do to reach different audiences. The Jewish Federation of San Antonio (JFSA) complements community programs with resources to reach even more people, which is why it is important now more than ever to continue the trend of perpetual engagement.
JFSA works hard to ensure that Jews in all stages of life are engaged through programming, from PJ Library to the JCRC’s Israel Leadership Fellowship, Women’s Philanthropy and LIFE & LEGACY®. One major area of focus that is gaining traction is the Young Adult Division of San Antonio (YAD). I have been involved with YAD for several years, most recently serving as the vice chair. In that time, I have seen the program transition from a social program to one that incorporates social activities into leadership training and professional development.
Young adults compose the next generation of lay leaders in the Jewish community. Because this demographic is integral to the continued success of hosting a diverse Jewish community in San Antonio, a particular focus has been placed on leadership development. J-LEV (Jewish – Leadership/Engagement/Values) is a leadership program that focuses on cohort-based learning around Jewish values and wisdom. With programs like J-LEV, JFSA can create a pipeline of leaders that will be ready to take the helm in the near future. Graduates of J-LEV are already starting to make a difference in the community by serving on boards and providing invaluable perspectives on problems and challenges facing our community.
While J-LEV is only one important aspect of YAD, it is a representative example of the importance YAD has in our community. As a young adult, I have enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experience around the young adult community in San Antonio while serving on the JFSA board of directors. It is my hope that more young adult voices will join me in lay leadership positions around various organizations, shaping a future that will continue our tradition of diversity in the San Antonio Jewish community.