Outgoing Message from Immediate Past President Cindy Zitelman
As we welcome Andrea into her new position, we express enormous gratitude to our past President Cindy Zitelman for her incredible contributions. In her address to the JWRP Board as the outgoing Board President, Cindy shares her own remarkable JWRP journey and the Jewish values that have become guideposts in her life.
To my friends, the JWRP Board and our staff, Lori, Ben, and Orlee,
The fact that this board meeting was scheduled in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur has given me the time to reflect on my personal life this past year and as Board President these past two-and-a-half years.
For all of us personally, so much has happened. We have not only gotten older (thankfully), but big birthdays have also been celebrated. Happy birthday to Betty and Helen, who celebrated their birthdays recently!
Babies have been born to some of our staff and to some of our children. Yes, Manette, Betsy, Lori, and I are now grandmothers!
Our children have grown. Some are now married, at college, in new schools, and in new careers. And yes, for those who have young children, they do eventually grow up !
And unfortunately, as we know with the cycle of life, there have been loved ones who have passed away.
And through this all, we have been there for one another. The JWRP Board is a very special board because we are a very special and unique organization. We embody what is important through our core Jewish values, which are the center of our movement: Unity & Mutual Responsibility, Generosity, Peace and Wholeness in the Home, Courage, Gratitude, Human Dignity, Faithfulness & Trust, Learning & Growth. Each value on its own is an important guide for living a fulfilling life, but if we can accomplish our goal to live all eight, we truly will change the world.
When I took on the role of Board President, I had just become a new grandmother. It’s quite remarkable to see how time passes. Ten years ago, when Lori asked me to come to Utah and to change the world, I thought, being Jewish and Israel are so important to me, so if we set out to guarantee a future for Jewish generations to come — and I can help guarantee a Jewish future for my own three daughters, then, selfishly, I’m in!
I’ve watched my children fall in love, marry, and have children of their own. This past Rosh Hashanah, I had my entire family together for the first time in over three years. It was challenging at times, exhausting always, but so worth it.
This is what I think of when I think of the JWRP. Challenging at times, exhausting always, but so worth it. During these past few years, the JWRP has grown, too. Not only in our infrastructure with 32 staff members, but in the number of women who experience MOMentum. Our largest trip ever brought over 600 women at the same time this summer, and we now have a diverse group of partners. We partner with more Federations than ever before, Chabads have joined our movement, and JWRP sisters have established independent Partner Organizations — joining our original core group of Partner Organizations.
I won’t go through every value but I want to share a few.
Courage. For me personally, taking on this position involved “boldly” stepping out of my comfort zone. Talking to hundreds of women was not my strength, to say the least. I needed the podium in front of me to hide my speech and my shaking hands that were holding it. I did it because I was inspired by our amazing and talented Trip Leaders and by the women I was addressing. And now my pizza box story is officially retired!
The JWRP has had the courage to do many things that are different than the norm. We are the disruptors of the Jewish world. It’s not easy, but we do see how we are making a difference.
Unity and Mutual Responsibility. When I’ve had the opportunity to send out Ben’s Board Update, I’ve always been astonished by how much we do and what we have accomplished. Knowing how each board member and their committees are part of making this happen reflects how each of us works with respect for one other. As I said before, we have all been there for each other in good times and in bad. Being interconnected and being there for one another is the essence of the JWRP sisterhood and we, the JWRP Board members, are its core.
Gratitude. I am forever grateful for this opportunity. Over these past few years, I have added to my circle of friends – my JWRP sisters that I’ve met on so many MOMentum trips, our staff that works so tirelessly, and you, the JWRP board, my dear friends. I hope that all of you feel gratitude for what the JWRP has accomplished. Our impact on lives, families, and communities is enormous.
Faithfulness & Trust. Our relationship with God can anchor us in every aspect of our life in the present and can drive us toward our future. As Lori says, God loves the JWRP! Our future has so much potential and I know that Andrea will be wonderful in her role as Board President. To the JWRP Board, my friends, thank you for your love and support. And to Andrea, may the JWRP continue to go from strength to strength under your leadership.