JFNA leadership passes the baton

The Jewish Federations have been extremely fortunate in attracting highly dynamic and committed members of its Federation community to serve as chair of JFNA’s Board of Trustees.

Richard Sandler, JFNA Outgoing Chair of the Board (L), and Mark Wilf, JFNA Incoming Chair of the Board (R) (photo credit: Courtesy)
Richard Sandler, JFNA Outgoing Chair of the Board (L), and Mark Wilf, JFNA Incoming Chair of the Board (R)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Jewish Federations have been extremely fortunate in attracting highly dynamic and committed members of its Federation community to serve as chair of JFNA’s Board of Trustees. There is no better example of that commitment than the outgoing chair – Richard Sandler.
When Sandler’s predecessor Michael Siegel, was about to pass the baton to him, he said: “Richard is known as a collaborative, intuitive leader with great professional and volunteer experience. He will bring a new style, a fresh way of thinking.” Siegel also said that Richard would “inevitably face a new array of challenges.” Both statements, of course, have proved to be true.
During Sandler’s tenure, the Jewish community has faced “an array of new challenges” – some of which have been divisive. He made made unifiying and engaging the Jewish people one of his top priorities. And as always, he has been elegantly persuasive on the subject.
Overcoming differences
Last May, Sandler wrote: “While the Jewish people share many things in common, we are upended by divisions that impede our central task of building a strong, cohesive community, one that engages Jews of all backgrounds in our sacred work and the joys of our tradition. I am not disparaging civil differences of opinion. They are healthy – helping us to learn more about complex problems and reach solutions. It is when we stop listening to each other and caring about one another that I get concerned.
At JFNA, we bring together the whole community, left, right and center. As my term as chair winds down, my hope for all of us, as we look to the future, is that we work harder to hear and understand one another.
The very best in us is imperiled when we let grievances and disagreements rise to the level of disrespect and enmity. Our people look to us as leaders to guide them through this wilderness. Let’s be true to our task of being a light unto the nations – and to our own people.”
Engaging the younger generations
One of Sandler’s other top priorities has been Next Gen Engagement in Jewish life and traditions. He has said, that "although the experiences of each Jewish generation may be different, our remarkable tradition and its values do not change." He firmly believes that making sure young people understand their traditions is a sacred obligation. It is vital for the future of the Jewish community, that they understand who they are and where they come from as they choose how they are going to lead their lives.
In his own words: “Throughout the continent, a new generation is asking big questions about why Judaism matters and we must do the best we can to engage them. Those of us involved with JFNA and throughout the Federation movement are passionate about building a vibrant Jewish future.”
Throughout his tenure Sandler has been an innovative and inspiring leader. His tireless work in unifying our community and fully engaging our younger generations has benefited us all. And it will continue to do so, as he now passes the baton to our new incoming chair of the JFNA Board of Trustees, Mark Wilf.

The incoming chair
The Federation is honored that Mark Wilf is taking on the mantle of chairing  JFNA’s Board of Trustees. Mark is a renowned leader. In business, his accomplishments are many. He is an attorney and a partner in Garden Homes, a real-estate development firm, and owner/president of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. As a philanthropist, his generosity is matched by few.
Wilf has held numerous leadership positions, both nationally and locally, including National Campaign Chair, National Young Leadership Cabinet Co-Chair, and President of his community’s Federation. As Co-Chair of the National Holocaust Survivors Initiative, Wilf has raised millions of dollars  to help survivors live more comfortably in their homes and communities.
Wilf’s parents, Joseph, z”l and Elizabeth Wilf, philanthropists whose impact across the globe was immeasurable, were great role models for Mark. Drawing on their experiences as survivors who found a way to thrive, Mark has demonstrated a profound commitment to advocating for the needs of the Jewish people. The entire Wilf family has long played an active and significant role in local, national and global efforts designed to ensure the welfare and vibrancy of the Jewish people. Jane, Mark’s wife, is a long-time Federation and community activist and was the Chair of Greater MetroWest’s recent commUNITY Mission to Israel. Jane serves on several philanthropic boards including the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, JFNA National Women’s Philanthropy, and the Wilf Family Foundations.
Wilf will have the support of a terrific team who share his philanthropic commitment and high level of professional acumen and Jewish communal experience. He will also have Sandler’s blessing, which is certainly a splendid way to begin his tenure.