Ambassadors Profile: Making an Impact in Jewish Renewal

Devorah Landau

Paul Rosen has a long history in Jewish philanthropy, beginning with leadership positions with the Federation in Toronto, Canada and Broward County, Florida and later serving as National Co-Chair of JFNA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet. He currently lives with his wife in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Rosen said he has always been interested in overseas giving. The JDC’s international efforts have excited and inspired him. “[JDC] shows the power of what can be achieved on an international basis to take care of our people.”

For the past few months, Rosen has been helping to spearhead a new, innovative JDC Ambassadors initiative called an Impact Network. There are several networks in various stages; the one he is involved with is focused on Jewish renewal. “We have formed an international network of activists to study successful renewal programs and to identify best practices that can be disseminated across the world,” he said.

Rosen explained that since the rescue portion of JDC’s mission is less acute today, he feels the renewal portion should take a front seat. “We must ensure the survival and perpetuation of our people in this century and beyond. That the Jewish people will thrive is not guaranteed. It takes organization and a link to a premier organization like JDC to ensure a future for our children’s children.”

After its first “action meeting,” the Impact Network, which is co-chaired by Marty Flashner, decided to focus on the successful international Jewish youth camp, founded by JDC and the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, in Szarvas, Hungary. Since 1990, the camp has brought together well over 20,000 Jewish children to explore their emerging Jewish identity and to interact with Jewish peers from around the world. Currently, some 1,500 children from more than 20 countries attend each summer. “There are lessons to be learned about what [challenges] Szarvas has overcome and the ones it now faces,” said Rosen.

The Impact Network currently has ten members from across the US and abroad; one even hails from Dubai. With the goal of collectively contributing $100,000 or more over two years, it seeks to expand to 12 to 14 members. “We have the opportunity to be a force for good in the Jewish world. We believe in action. By harnessing JDC’s expertise and experience, we can make real things happen, in real time, without major delay.”

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