This Thursday, August 13th at 6pm, the Federation and its agencies will celebrate our community at our Virtual Annual Meeting. In addition to recognizing our award winners, the meeting also serves as a time of transition, where we thank outgoing board members who have so graciously dedicated their time and passion to Jewish Dayton, and welcome in new board members.

When I think about What Inspires Me – the catalyst for the WHIM – my mind goes to the outstanding lay leadership in our community. In the almost eight years I have been with the Federation, I have had the pleasure of working with four incredible board presidents. Each one of our presidents has demonstrated a unique passion and vision for our community, but they all share one common thread – and that is their desire to make our community an outstanding place to work and live Jewishly.

In two days, Heath Gilbert will begin his tenure as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton. Our current president, Bruce Feldman, will transition into the role of Past President, and David Pierce will transition off the board.

When Bruce became president two years ago, none of us could have imagined what would transpire over the course of his presidency. Our worldwide Jewish community was heartbroken in October 2018 by the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Seven months later, we experienced the KKK Rally in downtown Dayton, and then were quickly devastated by the Memorial Day tornadoes. And less than three months after that, Dayton was once again rocked by tragedy with the horrific Oregon District shooting.

More recently, our world has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through all of this, Bruce has been a guiding light to help us, as an organization and community, get through these uncharted waters. Bruce has also served as a strong partner in the development of a robust Annual Campaign. In 2019, we exceeded our goal for the first time in many years. We can attribute this to our incredible Financial Resource Development team, of which Bruce has been significantly involved in supporting. As a lifelong Daytonian, Bruce has exhibited passion for the Jewish people and our Jewish community. Bruce, I am so thankful for your leadership and guidance over the past two years.

David Pierce, who served as board president from 2016-2018, was instrumental in helping our community through the difficult challenges we faced with Covenant House and Covenant Manor. There were many days during that time I would find myself afraid to check my email. However, even as we experienced a barrage of questions and potential setbacks, David’s calm demeanor and drive to move forward helped the community turn a difficult situation into a wonderful advantage. David, I will miss your wise counsel. Thank you for being such an exemplary leader.

Bruce and David join a long list of past presidents whose passion for our Jewish community have made Dayton an amazing place to call home. I am humbled by their wonderful input and knowledge.

I hope you will join us as we come together (virtually) on Thursday. Please make sure to visit our website, where you can vote on this year’s board slate, view award winners, and register for the meeting. You can click here for all the details.




To receive Cathy’s WHIM in your inbox each week, click here.

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