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Posts tagged ‘Rabbi Doug Kahn’

Why Jews should join the fight for gay rights in Russia

Jews around the world should join San Francisco’s Jewish community in speaking out against anti-gay legislation in Russia.

By Elka Looks, Jewish Community Relations Council
Originally posted in Haaretz 10/9/13

Gay rights, as Hillary Clinton so aptly said in her momentous speech in Geneva in 2011, are human rights and the struggle for LGBT equality is part of a long historical evolution that has arguably been in motion since the Reformation. Russia, however, seems to be on the wrong side of human rights history, with its recent anti-gay legislation bearing shocking resemblance to that of its Soviet predecessor, notorious for its oppression of minorities, including Jews. Read more

Federation Fellows Brings New Leaders to the Community

Become a leader of the Jewish community.

Building on previous years of similar and successful programs, we’re excited to announce the launch of Federation Fellows, a leadership development program designed to attract, train and educate new and emerging leaders for the Jewish community. Participants’ ages range from 20s – 40s and the program requires a commitment of two years, beginning summer 2012.

Apply Today

So what’s in store for our Federation Fellows?

  • Following an in-depth orientation, participants will be placed as provisional members on the boards of our community’s agencies, organizations, and synagogues in the fall of 2012.
  • During the second year of the program, Fellows will serve as an active committee member at the Federation.
  • Over the course of both years, Fellows will participate in numerous leadership training programs, workshops, and seminars.
  • Once one participates in the program, one is a Federation Fellow for life! A Fellow will continue to benefit from networking,leadership training, and educational opportunities offered by the Federation.

Both the Fellows and the community organizations they served have benefited tremendously from Federation Fellows over the years. Here’s a look at just a few of those who have been motivated, guided, and inspired by the program. 

Rabbi Doug Kahn, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council
JCRC was a true beneficiary of the program – young, committed Jewish adult leaders eager to gain experience in the Jewish communal universe, bringing enthusiasm and commitment and taking away greater understanding of our role in the community. It is a win-win situation – good for our organizations, good for the Federation, and good for the community.

Jeff Maltz (Federation Fellow 2001-2002)
 I was placed on the Board of the Institute of Aging (IOA) as it sought to navigate many issues facing its future. By being on the board, I learned about various strategies used for fundraising, how a board helps guide a CEO on organizational direction, and of course, about aging. I found that experience to be invaluable both professionally in terms of working with boards and non-profits, and in my volunteer life to better understand the challenges nonprofits face. Coincidentally, 10 years later I ended up starting a company in the senior space called SilverRide. My experience on the board of the IOA ended up proving to be very valuable, and actually helped guide my thinking when starting the SilverRide.

Lois Wander (Federation Fellow 1999-2000)
I served as a Fed Fellow at A Traveling Jewish Theatre (now TJT), and then later as a full-fledged board member for several years. I learned a lot from the experience, including the basics from how board meetings are run, to some more impactful work such as fundraising, hiring executive directors, and securing loans. In addition to helping the community, you also learn important management and leadership skills. It was very valuable, and I encourage others to participate in this program.

Apply online today.
Want more information? Read the full description of the Fed Fellows.

The Federation Fellows program has transformed dozens of individuals into exceptional leaders. This innovative program allows Fellows to make positive changes to JCF, the Bay Area Jewish community, and the San Francisco community as a whole For more information on how to participate, please contact Liza Meckler, Leadership Development Associate, at (415) 512-6260 or

Marching for the inevitable change

On the morning of May 26, I, like so many Californians, waited nervously to hear the California Supreme Court’s decision on Proposition 8. And like so many Californians, I was angered and disappointed by the court’s decision to uphold the proposition. Although the court preserved the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed before Proposition 8 was legalized, the decision as a whole was disheartening.

A rally, a protest and a march for equality were held throughout the day and into the evening. What I experienced was a truly inspiring sight – thousands of like-minded families, individuals and allies, chanting and carrying signs of support for the LGBT community.  Instantly, my hope was restored. Despite this loss, the LBGT community continues to grow stronger and more organized. Surrounded by individuals of all walks of life, each filled with the same righteous anger, I realized that change is inevitable.

The night was also deeply meaningful because of its strong Jewish presence. In previous marches and rallies I participated as a LBGT activist who is Jewish. But on May 26, surrounded by friends and professionals from the organized Jewish community, I participated for the first time as a Jewish LBGT activist. I felt proud holding the Kol Tzedek marriage equality Chuppah and listening to Rabbi Doug Kahn, Executive Director of JCRC, inspire the crowd with his powerful words. Far too often, religion is portrayed as mutually exclusive to gay rights. But as we demonstrated that night, Judaism and equality go hand in hand.

The California Supreme Court’s ruling undoubtedly angered many in the Jewish Community, and you have every right to be angry. However, it is important that as a Jewish community, we take this anger and channel it into positive change. The court may have silenced the voices of hundreds of thousands of LGBT couples. But as Harvey Milk wisely noted, “Hope will never be silent.”

This is the first blog-posting of Jacob Goldstein, the LGBT Alliance 2009 Summer Intern.

The LGBT Alliance is currently organizing “Jews March for Pride,” a unified Jewish contingent for the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 28. Together we will send the message that the diverse Jewish community overwhelmingly supports marriage equality. Dozens of synagogues and Jewish organizations throughout the Bay Area have already signed up to march with us.

Register and learn more at

Rabbi Doug Kahn of JCRC and Jacob Goldstein, LGBT Alliance intern, at the May 26 Prop 8 Protest Rally

Rabbi Doug Kahn of JCRC and Jacob Goldstein, LGBT Alliance intern, at the May 26 Prop 8 Protest Rally


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