The following dream statements were created by participants in the Jewish Community Summit on June 26-27, 2011.
1. A Culture of Respect: Milwaukee’s Jewish community is one with no barriers to inclusion and participation. Individual communities maintain unique identities while learning from, respecting and strengthening one another.
2. A Jewish community that is thriving, sustainable, and financially stable and is committed to: meeting the needs of the larger Jewish community; a set of common Jewish values that govern and drive decision-making; a continuity of relationships with donors, volunteers, and those receiving services
3. Our community will be a warm welcoming family, fulfilling the needs of all Jews as we learn more about our Jewishness.
– This can be facilitated through collaboration between institutions of the Jewish community (e.g., group purchasing, group planning, shared facilities). – There would be education of needs and similarities between the streams of Judaism to foster unity. Unity = respect of differences and connection through our similarities as we work side by side on our shared goals. – The values of community would be steeped in Tikkun Olam, tzedakah, and warmth. – Education would be available to all regardless of cost. To accomplish this we would use technology collaboration and volunteerism. – The elderly would have affordable services based on innovative design mechanisms.
We would leverage the resources present among the community to meet our goals. We would maximize the use of community volunteers to live within our means as a community. There would be value, added acceptance to participation. Communication mechanisms would be used to provide resource information and celebrate community successes and to interact with the outside community. Federation would be inclusive for all.
4. In our Jewish community each individual member is valued. We embrace our diversity and provide opportunities for all Jews, regardless of religious affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation, skin tone or economic status. An individual’s financial resources are not a barrier to participation in Jewish education, Jewish social and cultural events and Jewish camping experiences. We provide for the needs of people who live alone, who are elderly, mentally ill or disabled. We collaborate to share our financial as well as personal resources. We ensure that all members of our community are aware of volunteer opportunities, and we view our human capital as a valuable resource to be efficiently managed. We immerse ourselves in the Jewish values of tzedakah, pride in our Jewish heritage, commitment to Israel and doing of good deeds.
5. We dream of a Jewish community which offers continuous efforts to structure/schedule meaningful interactions among the day schools/synagogues/agencies; such efforts will lead to improved communication, less judgmental behavior, more respect and more collaboration among various groups (e.g., visits to agencies, synagogues, Hillel). We think it is critical to provide affordable, welcoming, meaningful ways for all those who identify as Jewish to participate in the Jewish community, which will engage many more people and improve the vibrancy of our community.
6. Our vision is based on the concept of a Jewish Community Cooperative Pool, where all members may swim with different strokes. Through a variety of resources – time, monetary, talent – all members may (and should) contribute toward a productive and healthy future, with each participant finding rewarding and meaningful personal Jewish experiences.
7. Based on the metaphor of the open doors, we see a Jewish community which: a. Is warm and welcoming and defined by no barriers b. Is inclusive, with respect for all and is defined by open and effective Jewish education and communication c. Offers infinite possibilities for engagement, creativity and peace d. Is respectful of differences and similarities These open doors will fulfill both our anticipations and expectations.
8. Thriving Jewish community in which all members are invited, welcomed and inspired. A community in which all in need are provided services and where there is no limitation to participation in any aspect of Jewish life based on finances. Every child will have the opportunity to receive a Jewish education, attend a Jewish camp and participate in a trip to Israel. It is a community where all are treated with respect, dignity and learn from one another. A dynamic community that is consistently exploring new ways to include and engage its members. It is a partner with other religions and races to improve our city, country and world.
9. We believe that the ideal future of the Jewish community is one that places family at its foundation. We hold dear values such as being welcoming and all inclusive. We believe in a Jewish education for all; a Jewish camping experience for our children; in having a religious affiliation available for those who choose; providing social services for those who need as well as an Israel connection. We believe that using a convener will facilitate these goals.
10. Our priority is the local Jewish community, at the same time not forgetting our responsibility to Israel and around the world. Progressive change will require sacrifice for the greater good. Educational opportunities are available and affordable to all. Forums that promote open dialogue and encourage inclusiveness and acceptance.
11. Our community is strong because we care. We care about taking responsibility for our fellow Jews. We believe in respect for our differences and in the power of collaboration. In order to care for our community, we understand that it begins with each of us. We each give something of importance to the community in order to provide services and programming that is relevant to our ever-changing needs. We give according to our ability and talents. We discuss needs and resources to communicate in a transparent manner. It is important to appreciate the effort and talent that each person donates.
12. Facilitate growth by celebrating diversity, fostering active engagement, seeking spiritual and meaningful opportunities, embracing civic responsibilities, creating mentorship opportunities from old to young and young to old, strengthening connection with Israel, expanding Jewish education and developing future leadership and volunteerism rooted in our Jewish ethics and history.
13. Guided by inclusiveness, respect and civility, personal relationships and Tikkun Olam, our vibrant Jewish community is composed and inviting of many diverse groups and individuals. Focused on the common goal of Jewish continuity, we provide partnership and leadership in building accessible opportunities for a quality Jewish life in Milwaukee, Israel and beyond.
14. We dream of an all-encompassing Jewish community that serves the needs of all its members. All entities within the community work in tandem to create the strongest community possible. And we believe in a community that changes to suit the needs of its individuals. The community helps its individuals connect with each other and the agencies and the services they need, including education, health care, and religion. We welcome everyone who wants to be a part of our community. We also express our commitment to Israel financially, educationally, and more. We are all open to express our Jewish identity, and we have a commitment to lifelong Jewish education.
15. We are an open-hearted and positive community bound together by our heritage, hopes, values and belief in the intrinsic value of every human being. The work we do both within and outside of the community comes from our Jewish values including (but not limited to) justice, tzedakah, compassion, the desire to encourage creativity and education, as well as the commitment to goals that are higher than ourselves. We seek to rid ourselves of any barriers which might constrain or divide us from complete appreciation for every Jew and the path they choose to express their Judaism. We strive to remain a welcoming and generous community which uplifts, supports and is inclusive through all stages of an individual’s life.
16. The Milwaukee Jewish Federation sees its principal duty to be actively involved in ensuring the Jewish future. It does so by focusing on the next generation through its support of high quality Jewish education within all streams of Jewish life. This includes primary, secondary and post-college programs. The natural inclusion of everyone in the greater Jewish community is also fostered with a Jewish camping experience available to all Jewish children. The centrality of the Jewish state of Israel is underscored by providing peer-group Israel experiences for all Jewish youth. That centrality is augmented by the creation and promotion of an Israeli peace corps, encouraging community members — not limited to the young — to devote their time and effort to supporting Israel. In addition, the Federation of our dreams promotes cooperative relationships within the synagogue world and actively develops political support for the State of Israel.
17. We believe in one community under G-d with unity committed to visions that unite us as one. We believe in mutual acceptance without barriers that ignites more energy and resources to Jewish life in Wisconsin. We will achieve this through harnessing the time, talents and skills of individuals to meet the needs of our community.
18. From young to old, this vibrant community will resonate with the energy of Jewish values. With shared respect, collaboration and growth. With motivation to be inclusive. Where all will find acceptance and comfort in our diversity, history, gifts and skills. Our model will inspire the desire to partake as well as participate.
19. We envision a community where all Jews, by self definition, feel welcomed and included in all activities. With a foundation in heritage and a future rich in intellectual, athletic, artistic, social, political and religious pursuits. All supported by our institutions, a strong mentoring program with an emphasis on volunteerism and good humor!
20. The Milwaukee Jewish community is a group of committed, diverse, and welcoming Jews. We are passionate about cultivating Jewish values, education and identity. We are intrinsically connected to Israel and Jews throughout the world. Every community member contributes to the greater Jewish community through resources and talents, and every individual is recognized for his/her talents. All contributors are equally valued. This dynamic environment of passionate Jews endows and supports new ideas for Jewish programs that enrich Jewish life. We will be a cohesive community while respecting each others’ diversity and bring our values to the greater community. We provide this through a Jewish community foundation with assets in excess of one billion dollars.
21. Our ideal Jewish community is one where each individual’s unique “contribution” (not just money) is valued, appreciated, and respected. The future of this ideal Jewish community depends upon accessible and affordable Jewish education and services. Since everyone is created b’tzlam elohim, in the image of G-d, our ideal Jewish community is one in which everyone works hand-in-hand to provide a compassionate community support system both locally and globally. One concrete way to achieve this ideal Jewish community is to create a forum. This entity would be formed with representation from all facets of the Jewish community. Their primary function would be to provide an arena for ongoing dialogue and problem solving in regard to issues that impact our Jewish community.
22. Did you hear about the amazing Jewish community in Milwaukee? It is a community where Jewish values are lived and not just talked about. We are a welcoming community of all Jews where our differences energize us, not divide us. Our organizations work together as a team and pool resources and strengths to support each other. We have succeeded in building a community endowment sufficient in size to subsidize the essential programs of the community to the extent needed to ensure our stability and vitality into the future. We are continually responsive to change and upgrading to be efficient and effective. We are a vibrant community where we really care about each other and provide multiple gateways to get each person the support they need through their individual challenges.
23. Ours is a community based in inclusiveness, caring and compassion. We are responsible for one another and feel connected to one another. We support and feel deep ties to Jews in Israel and all around the world. People in our community feel appreciated and needed. We respond to community members’ needs through programs, education for children and adults, social services and opportunities for people to come together. We are also able to respond to individual emergency situations. We function in cooperation and collaboration, and make decisions through the engagement of all facets of the Jewish community.
24. Our community is inspired, all inclusive, and all encompassing. It is centered on our sense of comm-unity. We welcome every individual to express their own Judaism in their own way. Our communications are open and shared. We strive to educate young and old in meaningful and enjoyable Jewish experiences. We have the financial resources needed to provide the programs and services to meet our community’s needs.
25. In 2021, Milwaukee is a thriving and growing Jewish community. People from all over are attracted to visit and live in Milwaukee for its diverse and rich Jewish life. Jewish educational opportunities are abundant for people of all ages. Children are proud to be Jewish and actively participate in Jewish life. Milwaukee does an excellent job at prioritizing community needs and ensuring adequate funding so that all can participate without regard to means. Our doors are open.
26. We envision a community that is like a tree of life, deeply rooted in Jewish tradition, and drawing on multiple resources – including non-monetary – energy, ideas, and skills of people throughout our community. We sustain the tree with shared resources, respect and civility. Libraries and schools collaborate by communicating about their resources. The community will be strong and will support widely branching educational programs, including a city-wide Hebrew school, Tikkun Olam, chesed and a full range of social services that meet all the needs of community members young and old.
27. We dream of a strong, organic, vibrant Jewish community that utilizes members’ symbiotic synergy to embrace common objectives and meet the diverse needs of a diverse membership, a community that appreciates that diversity is an asset, and are familiar with conflict avoidance and focusing on the positive. We will be students of the successes of others, gleaning positives from the past without reinventing the wheel, willing to engage uncomfortable ideas and honest in our self-assessments, establishing techniques to measure successes and progress, and develop collaboration of community agencies.
28. Our community is a family. Our community looks out for each other, cares for each other, and is concerned for each other’s welfare. Like all families, we have many differences, yet the essence of our being is that we are bound together as the Jewish people. Our family prides itself in all of us being knowledgeable of our history, our traditions and our values. Our institutions support all aspects of our family life with meaningful spiritual experiences.
29. Milwaukee (and beyond) is a community characterized by engaged, devoted, active and knowledgeable individuals who understand their roles and responsibilities to one another and to Klal Yisroel, and which offers its residents a safe and supportive environment with multiple opportunities for Jewish enrichment.
30. Our dream is for a community that has: good communication, central office, strong central support, agencies that are more successful, a community that is welcoming, cohesive, inclusive, vital, and energetic, that embodies basic Jewish values. There is a strong Jewish education component involving camping and trips to Israel and maintains flexibility to respond to needs.
31. We are an open, engaged and compassionate community. We respect all expressions of our Jewish community. Our community is rooted in the history and beliefs of our people in all of its forms. We are committed to education at every age, and we will continue to build our Jewish community in Wisconsin, Israel, and wherever Jews live.
32. We have a dream that in 2021 we will live in a Jewish community of patience, openness, opportunity and financial security, strengthened by a safe and secure Israel. All Jewish children will be able to receive a free Jewish education, incorporating the importance and value of tzedakah which will become an integral part of their lives. Our young adults will be excited to be part of the Jewish community and have the opportunity to fully participate and express themselves in a Jewishly meaningful way. Our vital, dynamic Jewish community will attract and keep Jews. We will embrace the passion, knowledge and wisdom of all those willing to share their talents with our community. We will foster a collaborative Jewish environment based on widespread involvement, over- abundant financial resources, inclusivity and open and effective communication.