Celebrations Milestones

Stamford woman tapped for Federation national post

STAMFORD — Devra Jaffe-Berkowitz of Stamford has been selected as co-chair designate for 2013-2014 of National Young Leadership (NYL) of the Jewish Federations of Northdevra-jaffe berkowitz America (JFNA). Jaffe-Berkowtiz and Darren Lederfine of Minneapolis will assume their new roles in June and become the NYL co-chairs in June 2014. National Young Leadership Cabinet is a philanthropic and leadership program within the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) comprising some 300 men and women aged 30 to 45 from the U.S. and Canada.

“It is critical for our success that we recruit talented leaders who can engage younger Jews and articulate their concerns to a wide range of Federation constituencies,” said Jerry Silverman, JFNA president and CEO. “Devra and Darren are just such leaders, and we are thrilled with the choice.”

Keith Greenwald, current JNL co-chair, praised the newly appointed young leaders as well. “Devra and Darren are thoughtful and committed Jewish leaders who understand the urgent need to find ways to make Jewish engagement and Federation engagement relevant to young Jews,” he said.

Jaffe-Berkowitz recently co-chaired NYL’s largest study to see the impact of Federation-supported work in Russia and to witness the challenges and initiatives in Jewish life in Europe through visits to Stockholm and Finland. The mission’s 83 participants in Federation-supported activities such as shopping for food with social workers and delivering it to the poor and homebound in St. Petersburg.

“We all have heard the stories many times,” said Jaffe-Berkowitz, co-chair of the study mission. “But to see it is something else. People understood in a new way that, if not for our dollars and our work in the Jewish world, these people would not be getting these services,” she said, referring to the outreach program run by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). “The goal of this kind of mission,” she said, “is not to see programs and pat yourself on the back and feel good about the work. We want it to be the impetus for people to go home and do more.”

In May 2012, Jaffe-Berkowitz was one of 45 Cabinet members from 26 North American communities who took part in a mission to Greece. She talked about her experience in an interview with the Jewish Ledger (“Conversation with Devra Jaffe-Berkowitz,” July 26, 2012).

An adjunct professor of religion and sociology at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Jaffe-Berkowitz is the daughter of Sari Jaffe and the mother of Zoe and Andrew.

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