What if I told you the Dayton Jewish community just received $500 million? How would you use it to enhance our community? At a recent Jewish Dayton Dreams Big Community Task Force meeting, this question was asked of the participants. A variety of answers poured in. “Create a Jewish Uber…a Jew-ber!.” “Start a Jewish Dayton TV station.” “Hire a celebrity spokesperson.” While some answers were more fantastical than others, the consensus was clear. We all want to create a bigger, better, more vibrant Jewish Dayton community.

The Jewish community in Dayton has a long and rich history, dating back to 1842, when the first Jewish settlers arrived in Dayton. Over the years, we have seen the Jewish population increase and decrease. We have seen the population concentrated in the North Dayton suburbs and then spread out toward the South Dayton suburbs. The needs of the community have changed over time as well.

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming,
we lose the
excitement of possibilities.
Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”
– Gloria Steinem

When things change, it gives us an opportunity to review where we are, and where we should be going. The last time we went through the review process was in 2012. That strategic plan identified three key areas to improve upon: Collaboration, Marketing, and Programming.

We spent five years focusing on these key areas. Late last winter, we decided it was time to take the next step. David Pierce, JFGD President, and I wanted to launch a project which would explore the Jewish Dayton community’s dreams and desires for the future in more detail.

“We’ve done a great deal of work to implement the key areas identified in the 2012 strategic plan in our community. Now it is time to move forward and take our community to the next level,” says David Pierce. The project would be directed by the community, for the community. In the spring of 2017, Jewish Dayton Dreams Big was born.

The project consists of five phases:

1. Assemble a PLANNING committee to head up the Jewish Dayton Dreams Big project:

Chaired by Federation Past President Gary Youra, the Planning Committee consists of Amy Bloom, David Goldenberg, David Pierce, Kathryn Polk and Dan Sweeny.

Gary Youra told us he became involved because he is thankful for the programming and opportunities the Jewish Dayton community has provided for him and his family. “Anything I can do to help ensure its future is something I’d like to participate in and give my energy to.”

David Ramey, a consultant with Strategic Leadership Associates, Inc., and intern Lori Cohen were brought in to plan and facilitate the project. In addition, the Expanded Community Task Force was assembled to help develop the visions and ideas of the Jewish community. The task force is comprised of Jewish Dayton community members from all walks of life, representing a variety of ages,
professions and congregations.

2. Gather data from the community regarding their thoughts and feelings about Jewish Dayton:

In May of 2017, Lori Cohen began facilitating parlor meetings and focus groups. David Ramey conducted one-on-one interviews with a variety of Jewish Dayton leadership. In addition, a survey was mailed to the Jewish community. The survey was also accessible here on our website.

3. Synthesize the data obtained:

The data was synthesized by Strategic Leadership Associates, Inc. Through this process, they established six key themes:

  • Attract and retain young Jewish families.
  • Create a comprehensive and integrated communications platform for Jewish Dayton.
  • Reinforce an integrated Jewish recreational, cultural, and educational hub.
  • Expand the base of the Jewish community through outreach.
  • Reinforce a tangible Jewish presence as a common force for good in community partnerships.
  • Establish partnerships with major institutions and job creators that promote access to employment.

4. Review the data:

The Expanded Community Task Force reviewed and digested the information provided by Strategic Leadership Associates, Inc. Two meetings were held. The first meeting focused on our current position in addressing the six key focus areas. In the second meeting, the task force was asked to brainstorm ideas based on the six key focus areas.

5. Establish a plan:

The last step of the project is to acquire input from the community, based on the six key focus areas and establish a plan to move forward with some of the ideas discussed. We are currently working on this phase and are looking forward to sharing it with the community once it is in place.

The task force’s enthusiasm indicates the Jewish Dayton community as a whole can work together to build our future.

Gary Youra added, “I firmly believe that the Federation is the glue that holds the Jewish community together. I hope this process gives the community ideas to empower the Jewish Federation, ensuring that the Jewish community in Dayton thrives.”

We’ve done a great deal of work to implement the key areas identified in the 2012 strategic plan in our community. Now it is time to move forward and take our community to the next level.

~ David Pierce
JFGD President

We’ve done a great deal of work to implement the key areas identified in the 2012 strategic plan in our community. Now it is time to move forward and take our community to the next level.

~ David Pierce
JFGD President

We’ve done a great deal of work to implement the key areas identified in the 2012 strategic plan in our community. Now it is time to move forward and take our community to the next level.

~ David Pierce
JFGD President

Gary Youra
Chair

David Pierce
Board President, Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton

Cathy Gardner
CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton

Jodi Phares
Project Manager, Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton

Lori Cohen
Jewish Dayton Dreams Big Intern

 

Amy Bloom
Planning Committee

Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz
Temple Israel

Rick Carne
Community Member

Rabbi Judy Chessin
Temple Beth Or

Abby Dickstein
Young Adult Community Member

Rabbi Joshua Ginsberg
Beth Abraham Synagogue

David Goldenberg
Planning Committee

Helene Gordon
Community Member

Helen Halcomb
Beth Jacob Congregation

Rabbi Nochum Mangel
Chabad of Dayton

Ben Mazer
Young Adult Community Member

Kathryn Polk
Planning Committee

Cherie Rosenstein
Hadassah

Dan Sweeny
Planning Committee

Mary Tyler
Community Partner

Marci Vandersluis
Community Member

Sarah Wolf Knight
Young Adult Community Member

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