Building trust as a builder of custom homes in the community, and building community as a career volunteer with Federation and its partner agencies, Mark Adler has served in many roles: in Campaign Fundraising and Capital Needs, in Michigan’s Israel Partnership, in Tamarack Camps; he and his wife, Laura. are the parents of Hillel Day School and Frankel Jewish Academy graduates. Now, in his 7th year on Federation’s Security Committee, serving for the past four years as Chair, Mark has found his calling. “I see my role as the eyes and ears of our community,” he says. “What I bring to the table are my skills in business and organization, but I work with a team of top professionals under the leadership Federation’s Security Director, Gary Sikorski. In partnership with federal, state and local law enforcement working closely with our agencies, we are recognized as having one of the most capable and robust Federation Community Security Departments in the nation.”
A mission for Gen Xers? Geared for first-time visitors to Israel? Why not! Launched in January 2020 - with the generous support of longtime community leaders, Andi and Larry Wolfe - Federation’s inaugural Gen X Mission brought 33 first timers to tour, discover and experience all that Israel has to offer through the lens of Jewish Detroit’s vibrant connections there.
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.
A lifelong Detroiter and a community builder at large, Matt Lester will step up as the next President to serve Federation when his term begins in September 2020. An attorney with 25 years in real estate development and management, Matt is Founder and CEO of Princeton Enterprises, a company that has become a well-known name in Greater Detroit, while expanding property operations in fifteen states across the Midwest and Southeast.
Beyond the realm of business, Matt has turned his focus towards community development for nearly 20 years - as Federation’s Annual Campaign Chair and an Executive Board Member, as well as in service to numerous boards including the American Joint Distribution Committee, Jewish Senior Life, Kadima, The Jewish Fund, BBYO, Yad Ezra, Forgotten Harvest, Tamarack Camps, United Jewish Foundation, Project Healthy Community, Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Spare time? Matt manages to find it and cherish it with his family, Michigan football, traveling and the simple pleasures of farming on his property in northern Michigan.
An advocate for kids, an ambassador for reducing the stigma still associated with mental illness . . . that’s how Lilly Jacobson sees her role in the community these days. And her days are full. A clinical psychologist, formerly affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Michigan and currently in private practice, as well as the Chair of Federation’s Youth Mental Health Initiative, Lilly has made it her goal to educate the community about current mental health issues and to reach young people (and those who love and influence them) with positive messages of self-worth. “We need to talk about depression and anxiety as major health problems among our youth,” she affirms. “Too many of our children are struggling in silence. We Need to Talk – a Federation initiative in partnership with the community – has become our call to action.”
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.”