By Judy Tashbook-Safern
Special to the TJP
On Thursday, June 15, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas will pay tribute to members of the Dallas Jewish community at its annual meeting, as JFGD thanks and highlights the work of outgoing board chair, Dan Prescott, and welcomes Mark Kreditor to the senior position. The program will begin at 7 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, 8500 Hillcrest Road in Dallas.
“Our Federation is unbelievably blessed to have the lay leadership we do on our boards and committees,” said Federation President Bradley Laye. “Our Jewish community is so strong because of the wisdom, energy, passion and commitment of our lay leaders. Personally, I have learned so much from Dan Prescott; there is no better campaigner, and his vision and creativity in growing our community is audacious.”
“He’s Mount Rushmore,” Kreditor says of his predecessor. “Dan is the face of the Dallas Jewish community and his community service has been monumental. He’s made an indelible mark during his tenure as board chair and I’m honored to follow him.”
Prescott responded in kind, saying: “Well, if we’re using geographical references, I’d have to say my friend is the ‘Top of the Mark’ because he is quite an entertainer! Mark is universally liked and has been a tremendous resource for many organizations in our community. He will be a great chair.”
Transitions are not always as smooth as this one but Prescott and Kreditor, who have been volunteering together for years in leadership positions at the J, fundraising for the Maccabi Games and at Yavneh Academy, have made this transfer of leadership a strategic and collaborative process.
“So many Federation board members are community leaders I have worked with over the years so we will be able to work well together right away, ideally with a very slight learning curve. Working with this board is like working with family. And with his talent and commitment, I couldn’t be more fortunate than to follow Dan into this important role.
“Building upon Dan’s accomplishments in this area, including hiring a superb security director, this board and I are going to continue and strengthen the Federation’s commitment to community security. We are also going to build upon Dan’s success in leading our community to combat BDS (the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement). Perhaps my largest goal in this position is to follow up on Dan’s survey of the volunteer experience by ensuring we have protocols and the right attitude toward engagement. With a warm embrace of all Dallas Jews, we will find a place for everyone who wants to serve at the Federation or anywhere in our community.”
One can’t hear Mark Kreditor speak for more than five minutes without hearing the words “warm,” “welcoming,” and “engaging.” Perhaps because those are the very words people use to describe him. But Kreditor uses those words to describe the Dallas Jewish community of which he has become such an integral member.
“I came to Dallas with a U-Haul in 1981, following the example of my Uncle Lou, who moved here in 1942. He said it was the most wonderful place to live and he was right! I love the fact that the people who greeted Carol and me when we moved here are the grandchildren of the people who welcomed Uncle Lou into the community 40 years earlier. That generational continuity is one of the most significant examples of what makes Dallas unique.”
Statistics indicate that every five minutes someone moves to North Texas. That’s a whopping 288 people a day. If our Metroplex has the same ratio of Jews to non-Jews found elsewhere in the United States, that means our community grows by five people a day.
‘We are absorbing between 1,800 and 2,000 new community members a year,” Kreditor said. “How we welcome and engage them must be at the forefront of how the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas operates in the years ahead. A community that grows as quickly as Dallas presents those of us who live here with tremendous opportunities. That means we need to be a step ahead of the next U-Haul.”
Kreditor’s vision extends far beyond onboarding new citizens. He is fascinated by the “big C” element of the Dallas Jewish Community. “Dallas is distinguished by our achdut — our Jewish unity. We experience community differently than people in New York, L.A., Chicago or Jerusalem. Go to an event here and you see everyone from the ultra-Reform to the ultra-Orthodox, smiling, talking, sharing experiences. We pray together, celebrate together, raise funds together, and together we are repairing the world. I want the young people who leave for college or to pursue professional opportunities to remember that something has happened to them growing up Jewish in Dallas. I want them to take Dallaskeit with them wherever they go and then to come home again and contribute to the beautiful work of previous generations. I always ask people: ‘If not you, who?’ ”
“Mark is beloved by so many in our community, and he and Carol are the absolute role models for why and how people should give — time, money, intellect and energy,” said Laye, eagerly anticipating the opportunity to partner with the new board chair. “By example, Mark will lead so many to do what comes so naturally for him as someone who just lives and breathes the work of our Jewish community so joyously.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas will host its 106th annual meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 15 at Temple Emanu-El’s Tobian Auditorium. The event will serve as a celebration and wrap-up of the 2017 campaign year for the organization.
This event will honor key volunteers and lay leadership of the Federation with the presentation of the following awards:
- Bess Nathan Young Leadership Award: Kim Velevis
- I. Zesmer Young Leadership Award: Steven Davidoff
- Helen Gross Award: Stan Rabin
- Bob Weinfeld Campaigner of the Year Award: Cynthia Feldman
The evening will also allow the Federation to pay tribute to its outgoing board chair, Daniel J. Prescott, while also installing its new board of directors, including Board Chair Mark Kreditor.
A crowd of 300 or more is expected, including professionals, elected officials and community leaders.
Cost is free, but registration is required for table seating arrangements. Light food will be served.
RSVP to Linda Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org.