What does it mean to be an inclusive community in Jewish Detroit? A good question: to be answered, not in a mission statement, but in meaningful conversations, in personal choices and in activities that speak louder than words. Inclusivity. It’s the goal of Federation’s NEXTGen Detroit and that’s where we find Keith Schonberger – “all in” and deeply engaged in the work.
A patent attorney by profession, in a growing practice with Young Basile in Troy, Keith is also a longtime community volunteer on a leadership path. Among his numerous community-building roles, he is a past Board Member of MSU Hillel and Tamarack Camps, and a Co-Founder and Past Co-Chair of Federation’s Interfaith Couples Group. Currently, Keith is a V.P. on the NEXTGen Detroit Executive Board and a member of Federation’s Campaign Cabinet.
Raising three young children in an interfaith family, Keith and his wife, Tara, are both active in The Well – a pluralistic Jewish community for young adults in Metro Detroit, where Tara has served on its Board and Keith has served as song leader for Tot Shabbat services since the organization’s founding in 2015. Recognized as one of the community’s “best and brightest” making his impact, Keith is listed among “The Well/Jewish News 36 Under 36 Class of 2019.”
Born in Jerusalem, son of former Israeli emissaries who served in the U.S; raised in the Israeli Youth Movement; nine years a pilot and flight instructor in the Israeli Air Force; eight years a high school teacher and mentor for youth-at-risk in Tel Aviv; an educator with a Master’s of Philosophy; what better creds for Jewish Detroit’s new Shaliach, our emissary from Israel, Yiftah Leket?
Imagine the courage, the spirit and the optimism it takes to mask-up and fly in the face of a world pandemic to carry out his mission to Israel and our Jewish community. With steadfast confidence in his bold move to Detroit - having just arrived in September with his wife, Paz, and their daughter, Ella - Yiftah offers his first take on the challenges and opportunities ahead.
So far, so good . . . Michigan winters and Detroit drivers haven’t bothered Tomer Moked, not a bit. “Driving in Michigan is a little like driving in Israel,” he says, “Everyone is in a rush, but they know where they want to go.”
In his previous role as Assistant Director at Tamarack Camps, as many know him, Tomer was never one to rush into a decision. And he knew with certainty where he was going, moving from Israel to Michigan into the heart of the Detroit Jewish community. Leaving the house he owns in Beit Arye and the business he’s established in Tel Aviv - Tomer maintains that he’s found “a dream come true” in his new position as Federation’s Director of NEXTGen Detroit.
All in: That’s Scott Kaufman. Absolutely, positively, whole-heartedly, Scott has been all in at the helm of the Detroit Federation. It’s been 10 years, a long time in a challenging job. And now? He’s stepping away from his day-to-day role in an astonishing, bold move. Call it a mid-career reboot – a self-imposed opportunity to reset his focus on community initiatives in development and see them to fruition. “Jewish communal work is in my blood,” Scott says. “I was the right leader for the times, but the time is right for me to step aside and share the lessons I’ve learned. Federation is in a great place for others to step in and lead in new directions. I’m not walking away from our community. I remain here for our community. And all in.”
A born leader: Matt Ran is Past President (and an EPIC fundraiser) for Federation’s NEXTGen Detroit. Now Co-chair of the National Young Leadership Cabinet, Matt is also V.P. of Michigan ORT and a member of the boards of Federation, Yad Ezra and the JCC of Metro Detroit. On the path to career volunteerism at 33, Matt also has a “day job” – spearheading business growth and development at Telemus– a financial life management company co-founded by his father and two uncles. Influenced by the many role models for active community engagement in his family, Matt often refers to the legacy of his great grandfather, Phillip Stollman (z”l), a guiding light in Detroit philanthropy, and a founding patron of Young Israel in Oak Park and Bar-Ilan University in Israel. “I never forget that I am the son, the grandson and great-grandson of outstanding community leaders and I am forever grateful for those connections.”