Thursday, August 13, 2009

Am I Your Hero?

Some things come up and demand a quick post. I know I'm behind on writing about so many different things that I've been meaning to get to but I have so little free time of late. But here goes... I was nominated by a buddy of mine for the United Jewish Communities' Jewish Community Hero contest. Its a great honor for those of us who selflessly devote our time, energy, and tiny paychecks to the Jewish Community. Sometimes a thank you is all I need to get through a tough and frustrating patch. Getting recognized like this can give me an even bigger push. Below is the text from my friend's nomination:

Tell us about your nominee. Why should he or she be recognized as a Jewish Community Hero?

Susanne is the Social Media Coordinator of the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP), where she has been involved, since before social media was a normative means of communication, in reaching out to unaffiliated and loosely-affiliated Jews around the world, to engage them in their Jewish heritage. Originally a U.S.-based organization with a small reach into Canada as well, Susanne has helped to turn NJOP into a worldwide phenomenon, and has thereby touched the lives of millions of Jews worldwide, both directly and indirectly.

In her free time, Susanne co-chairs ParnasaFest, the international grassroots initiative providing job networking assistance for the Jewish community, teaches pro-bono social media classes at synagogues and organizations, volunteers as a matchmaker for Jewish singles, and has consulted for the World Jewish Congress.

What problem did your nominee identify in the community that needed to be solved? How has your nominee's efforts made a difference for others?

Through Susanne's efforts, NJOP has become a clearinghouse of information for Jews seeking to understand their cultural and religious identity. Previously, NJOP had a loose affiliation with synagogues around the U.S. that was most known for its Shabbat Across America program. Now, with over 4,100 followers on Twitter, a widely read blog, and growing networks among young and old alike, NJOP has transformed into a powerhouse for informal - and formal - Jewish education for all age groups and backgrounds. According to their 2009 report, NJOP, still a small organization with a dozen staff, "has successfully reached more than 1,054,000 North American Jews and engaged them in Jewish life," and its programs, "have been offered at more than 3,670 locations across North America and in 37 countries worldwide."

Some of my good friends are fellow nominees, including former roommates (Sharon that's you), my ParnasaFest partners Dave and Dani, fellow ROIers Tamar and Ari, and rabbis and community educators that I've become acquainted with via my work at NJOP. Every one of them is worthy of this honor for the incredible work that they do for their local communities.

I hope you'll find the time to take 30-seconds out of your day to click the below link and vote for me and other people who you think are deserving. You can vote once everyday through October 8th. Please encourage your friends and families to vote as well by tweeting my link or devoting your Facebook status update to my cause. Thanks for your support!!!


*Picture will be posted to voting site soon.
** Picture above shows how far I'd go for your vote. Even kissing babies on the campaign trail. ;)

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