Good morning from Washington, DC the host of this year’s Jewish Federations of North America (formally United Jewish Communities) General Assembly. The JFNA GA is the largest Jewish conference of the year attracting attendees from around the globe. Having been to a few of the GAs in previous years, I feel that I can have some perspective.
My first GA was in Cleveland while I was still a student at Yeshiva University. Thousands of people came together to freeze on the shores of Lake Erie. I was inspired, I learned to schmooze, I even snuck my way into a $10,000 a plate dinner (ask me about that sometime…). All at the Cleveland convention center with a night out at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Then came the Los Angeles GA, at the LA convention center. Big and glitzy, this GA was well organized, well publicized and very well attended. I was there as a staff member for Hillel planning our pre-GA day of Justice for thousands of volunteer students and celebrities in the Southern California region. I was less motivated, less inspired but still made great connections.
Today is the DC GA. I live nearby (in Silver Spring, MD) and as such probably would not have come otherwise. We are being hosted by the Marriott Wardman hotel, where we can really feel the smaller attendance size. There are fewer and less impressive booths in the expo and not too many people to schmooze with (yet). I very much hope to change my tune by the time I leave as I have high hopes for our ability as a people to come together and schmmoze our way to a future.
I leave the conference reporting in good hands, or correspondent, Josh Shpayher will be posting updates on Jewneric as well.