The Council of Young Jewish Presidents was established in February of 2007 by David (Borowich) Yaari along with Ayall Schanzer and a core group of presidents of young leadership boards.
Prior to their initial conversations, there had been no space for young Jewish lay leaders to come together to build relationships and coordinate across different Jewish institutions. They also felt that they had lacked the network and preparation necessary to serve as effective lay leaders and board members.
This core group gathered young leadership chairs across the NYC Jewish community to sit down with Edgar Bronfman Sr. to explore the concept of the Council of Young Jewish Presidents. There was immediate interest from the field.
Over the next two years, the Council formalized its vision and, in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of NY, hired Hindy Poupko as its first part-time Executive Director in 2008. Within the next year, CYJP received its 501c3 status and implemented various initiatives, including a mentorship program and skill-based learning workshops. Today, many of CYJP’s founding organizations remain a part of the Council alongside a number of new member organizations.
The Council of Young Jewish Presidents (CYJP) convenes our generation of Jewish communal lay leaders to build the network and skills necessary to lead our community today and into the future.
At CYJP we envision a future where Jewish communal leaders have the capacity to serve effectively on boards, have resilient relationships across institutional differences, and where they take young leadership is taken seriously,
Here at CYJP, we know that engaged and effective lay leaders can transform non-profit organizations for the better. But while the Jewish community has done an incredible job providing leadership development to emerging Jewish professionals, there has been far less emphasis on developing the skills of young lay leaders. This is why CYJP works to provide our members with the critical skills and knowledge they need to govern, fundraise, innovate, and problem-solve. But having these skills is also not enough.
While American Jews recognize the importance of community, CYJP has found that far too many young leaders lack a sense of connection to other lay leaders and to the larger Jewish landscape. They lack a network of fellow lay leaders outside of their organization, and they rarely have the opportunity to form friendships with those serving other institutions. But the Jewish community needs these resilient relationships to thrive. Here at CYJP, we convene young leaders who represent disparate and divided organizations so that they can create new paradigms of civility, cooperation, and collaboration.
We are here to represent and strengthen our generation of leaders. We have found that because of our work, young board members are significantly more likely to stay engaged in leadership roles - both at their existing agency and in other Jewish spaces. Yet, while the gravity of American Jewry is rapidly shifting toward younger people, we have found that many Jewish organizations have not kept up pace. That is why so much of our work is focused on ensuring young leaders are taken seriously and invested in.
A WORD FROM OUR CHAIR
"There is no organization in the country convening and training such a diverse group of Jewish institutional leaders on such a continual basis. The education and peer-network that CYJP provides our community is absolutely invaluable. Nowhere else have I seen leaders work across institutional differences in order to grow together and tackle challenges facing the Jewish people.”
— Mike Littenberg-Brown, CYJP Board Chair
Before CYJP, young leadership groups were disjointed with no centralized vehicle for communication, conflict-resolution, or mobilization. Lay leaders seeking training in governance, fundraising, and supporting professionals had few places to go. Additionally, lay leaders across different institutions rarely if ever found themselves in the same room.
CYJP was created over ten years ago to meet this challenge.
We work to identify individuals who are in or most likely to assume significant lay roles, to network them among their peers, and to nurture their capacity for leadership. CYJP has found that our generation of lay leaders are desperate to improve their organizations by improving their own skills and gaining exposure to the larger Jewish community.
We are convening our generation’s leaders, developing their talent, and leveraging them to shape and strengthen the institutional fabric of our community
At CYJP we are committed to nurturing and networking the next generation of Jewish lay leadership. At a time of increasing complexity and polarization, we believe that the American Jewish communal landscape requires a strong network of institutional leaders who are connected with one another, adaptive, and prepared to meet the challenges facing our community.
developing peer networks
We convene our entire Council together every two months to create opportunities for building relationships, networking, and collaborative problem-solving. We also create ongoing opportunities for leaders to come together for networking and civil discourse.
representing the next generation
As the central address of young Jewish lay leaders, we connect community leaders, diplomats, and government officials who seek to engage and address our generation’s Jewish leaders. We also connect our members to senior Jewish and civic leaders who wish to learn more about our generation’s positions and values.
We provide our members with the critical skills and knowledge they need to govern, fundraise, and innovate. Right now, CYJP is partnering with leading agencies in the nonprofit and educational sectors to develop a multi-month lay leadership certificate program.
CYJP leverages our unique network to advise Jewish institutions on best-practices when engaging next-generation Jewish leaders. We work to help organizations develop and strengthen their young leadership bodies and outreach to next-generation philanthropists.
What Our Members Have to Say
Adena philips, National Chair of Israel policy forum atid
“CYJP provides a much needed space for lay leaders to connect over shared goals and challenges amidst an increasingly diverse Jewish communal landscape. It has never been more critical for young lay leaders from across our community to build relationships with one another to strengthen our communal fabric.”
Zoya Raynes, President of Jewish Communal Fund
“Before CYJP, there was no centralized vehicle for collaboration, communication, or sharing of best practices and resource for young leadership groups. For the past ten years, CYJP has proven itself to be the central address of young Jewish leadership in New York City.”
Ran fuchs, former chairman of IAC Dor Chadash
“It is through CYJP that I have built my network of like-minded Jewish lay leaders who have also become my closest confidants, advisors, and friends.”