David Heilbron serves as the Director of Youth Philanthropy & Connection at the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, the central philanthropic, planning, community engagement and unifying partner for the Indianapolis Jewish community. Originally from the Washington D.C. area, David has served in a variety of formal and informal education roles in the Jewish and broader communities. David is a founding resident of the Moishe Pod Indy, a community for Jewish 20-somethings to create a vibrant and meaningful Jewish experience, and is studying towards a MJEd/MAJS at Hebrew College. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
by David Heilbron, Director of Youth Philanthropy & Connection at the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis
The Jewish High Holy Days season began in earnest a week and a half ago on Sunday evening, September 30 with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Leading up to Rosh Hashanah, Jews traditionally spend the month of Elul in deep introspection, contemplating the past year in anticipation of Rosh Hashanah and ten days later Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. As Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso noted in a previous issue of this newsletter, “[Yom Kippur] marks a time of deep personal introspection…the twenty-four hour [Yom Kippur] fast is a period of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.”
Introspection is a core element of the Jewish fall holidays and remains central throughout the year in my work with teens. A core part of the YoPhI Teen Board (Youth Philanthropy Indy), a grantmaking program for Jewish 11th and 12th graders in the Greater Indianapolis area, focuses on introspection for the Teen Board members and their peers in the broader community. Adolescence is a time of intense growth and identity-building and no matter the forum in which they are participating, teenagers are sorting through a flurry of opinions, emotions, and connections.
While engaging teenagers through the lens of grantmaking and philanthropy, there is an incredible opportunity to develop and inspire a next generation of philanthropists. The 13 members of the inaugural 2018 – 2019 YoPhI Teen Board cohort explored the world of philanthropy through an immersive experience: developing a mission statement to support the youth of greater Indianapolis through education, soliciting and reviewing proposals from a wide array of local organizations, and allocating nearly $5,000 to support their mission. As part of the program’s collaboration with Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the Jewish Teen Funders Network, all 13 teen board members earned Certificates in Youth Philanthropic Leadership, identifying these youth as the next generation of leaders and changemakers in the community.