Dallas Doings: Young adults and DJCF, uniting against anti-Semitism

Photo: Lara Bierner Photography Hans Heppe (Honorary Consul Federal Republic of Germany), Matthew Ladin, Patrick Jackson (Honorary Consul of Sierra Leone) and Tina Wasserman count the 10 Plagues at the AJC Diplomatic Seder last week.

Photo: City of Plano On Monday, April 11, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere joined the AJC Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism Campaign. At the signing are (front row, from left) Associate Director of AJC’s Department of Regional Offices Kim Kamen, Mayor LaRosiliere, Anshai Torah Past President Michelle Meiches; (back row, from left) Anshai Torah Rabbi Michael Kushnick, AJC Dallas Regional Director Joel Schwitzer, Dr. Mitch Moskowitz, Adat Chaverim Rabbi Ben Sternman.

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

DJCF reaches out to young adults

Tackling student debt while managing living expenses and trying to save for the future isn’t easy.
This is a common reality faced everyday by many young working Jewish professionals in Dallas, and has inspired the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation to take action to help change this trajectory. After hosting a focus group of peers, Jaycee Greenblatt, director of New Initiatives, realized this was an area that needed to be addressed.
During the meeting, it became even more apparent that it wasn’t a mere few battling financial challenges.
“Not only do I feel that this is extremely needed from a personal finance education perspective, but it’s vital for our community to realize the importance of the Millennial/young adults’ role in the future of the community,” said Vanessa Lustig, an attendee and director/manager of sales and marketing at Spectrum Diamonds.
Greenblatt explains that the DJCF’s goal is simply to inspire philanthropy; however, a gloomy future may lurk ahead if we don’t do something to combat the financial strains currently weighing on the younger generation. Greenblatt questions how anyone can make room for philanthropic endeavors when they are barely affording their current lifestyle. Some of the challenges expressed by the focus group included educational or school debt, unaffordable rent, lavish wedding obligations, health-related issues, and donating.
Other concerns expressed by young families included the concern around affording a Jewish education for their children, synagogue dues, camp expenses and a down payment for a house. The strains only seem to become more challenging when considering the idea of creating a family, which may be why many young professionals have chosen to wait longer to start a family of their own.
Lustig believes that “while we are young and not making a lot of money now, 10 to 20 years down the road this generation could be in a completely different financial situation and could be in a place to make a large financial investment in this community’s future.”
Acting as the fiduciary and philanthropic arm of the Dallas Jewish community, the DJCF’s agenda for a new financial literacy workshop series is to share the expertise of the DJCF board, committees, and professional staff.
There are numerous financial experts who help guide the organization, and the DJCF wants to harness and expose their expertise to the future generation.
The first workshop, “The Art of Budgeting, Saving, and Tackling Debt,” launched Tuesday, March 29 and was led by Corey Metz, a seasoned financial professional specializing in life insurance and estate planning.
Metz has worked in the insurance industry for 20 years serving individuals and business owners in Dallas and around the country. He has also been a featured speaker at several industry events nationwide and recognized as a “Four Under 40” in Advisor Today (portraying four top advisers and community leaders nationwide under 40 years of age). “Corey was engaging, informative, and real with the full conference table full of young professionals in our 20s and 30s,” said Hilary Blake, assistant district attorney at the Dallas County district attorney’s office. “We discussed everything from 401(k)s to stocks to student loans and credit card debt to how to save, apps and budgeting techniques that can help everyone regardless of our current financial position.”
The next workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, April 27, and will focus on how to navigate medical insurance benefits and related health care bills. Understanding the health care system can be daunting, and speakers will focus on providing information on how to save time and money when it comes to health care spending.
The featured speakers will be Matthew Prescott, a Benefits Advisor from Marsh & McLennan Agency, known locally as Prescott Pailet Benefits, and Michael A. Waldman CEBS, president of the employee benefits division at Waldman Bros.
“This new ongoing program is sure to make our community more knowledgeable, financially sound, and bring our young professionals together,” said Blake. “Whether we like it or not, money plays a pivotal role in our lives and why not have an opportunity, regardless of one’s individual situation, to be surrounded by peers and be able to learn and ask questions with subject matter experts?” says Lustig. For the DJCF, creating a program to help empower Millennials through financial independence is a perfect fit.
If you are a young professional interested in learning more about these workshops, please contact Jaycee Greenblatt at jgreenblatt@djcf.org.
— Submitted by Mona Allen

Keeping up with AJC Dallas

On Monday, April 11, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere joined the AJC Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism Campaign, joining over 300 U.S. mayors by signing on to the AJC statement. More than 80 million people from 48 states are represented by these mayors. Recently, this initiative was expanded to Europe, where over 70 mayors representing 45 million people have already signed.
AJC Board Member Mitch Moskowitz made the connection for AJC with the mayor’s office. Also present at the signing were Rabbi Benjamin Sternman of Congregation Adat Chaverim, Rabbi Michael Kushnick and Past President Michelle Meiches of Congregation Anshai Torah and AJC staffers Kim Kamen and Joel Schwitzer.
Currently, Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas and Mayor Betsy Price have also signed the statement.
Later in the week, AJC held its inaugural Diplomatic Seder at the home of Maddy and Mark Unterberg. AJC leaders welcomed friends from the consular corps, representing 10 different countries including Sweden, the Ivory Coast, Peru, Morocco and more. It is our hope that this will become a cherished annual tradition for members of the consular corps and AJC leaders alike.
Toward the close of the evening, consuls made remarks on their thoughts on the experience. Their comments were deeply moving and emphasized the importance of the bridges AJC builds to governments of the world through diplomatic advocacy.
Jose Octavio Tripp Villanueva announced that he will be leaving Dallas in the coming months. He will remain in the Mexican Foreign Service, taking on an ambassadorship. He shared with Seder attendees that his new post will be in the Middle East, and that he has requested Israel as his first choice. Tripp spoke passionately about the importance of AJCs work in teaching him about how much heart the Jewish community has and expressed his appreciation for its work with the broader Latino community in Dallas.
— Submitted by Joel Schwitzer

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