Young Leader Profile: Leah Goldberg

The Young Leadership Cabinet is the Jewish Federations of North America’s elite leadership-training program for people ages 30-45. It attracts the best and brightest, savvy and sophisticated, young, successful, philanthropic-minded Jewish individuals who seek to enrich their lives and the Jewish community by becoming leaders within a global philanthropic movement—because the world doesn’t repair itself—it takes leadership.

Central New York’s Leah Goldberg is a member of this distinguished group. Leah was born in Los Angeles and raised in Omaha. She graduated from the University of Kansas and worked in public relations in Los Angeles and New York City. In 2011, she joined JDate and met Syracuse native, Seth Goldberg. They connected immediately, sharing strong values around family, Judaism, and community. Leah quickly recognized that if they wanted a future together, it would be in Syracuse. They were married at Temple Adath Yeshurun a year after they met.

Leah has a strong Jewish identity, passed down through generations of her family. “My maternal grandparents were raised with strong Jewish traditions,” Leah says, “and my paternal grandparents have an amazing story of post-war romance. My grandmother was recovering from a concentration camp internment when she met an American soldier. After two years of letter-writing, he invited her to come to the U.S. to get married. She agreed, and was soon on a boat to New York, where they were wed and blessed with 71 years of marriage.”

When she moved to Syracuse, Leah wanted to become an active leader in the local Jewish community. She and Seth joined the Federation’s Young Leadership program, which she subsequently chaired for two years with Rebecca Raphael. They planned learning sessions about the Jewish community, supported local philanthropy, and held fun social events. Leah is proud of the many Young Leadership participants who now sit on Jewish organizational boards or hold leadership roles throughout the community. She herself sits on the Federation Board of Directors.

“The challenges we face in our local Jewish community are similar to those of Omaha, L.A. or even New York City,” Leah declares. “Unfortunately, there is a lot of apathy amongst millennials. My generation is becoming less affiliated and committed; they are busy, and many are not sure how to get involved.” The solution? “We need to build a strong foundation of young community leaders now, so we can ensure the future vitality of our Jewish communities.”

Leah was intrigued by the National Young Leadership Cabinet. The Cabinet is a five-year program which strengthens participants’ leadership skills and provides a thorough education on the federations’ work to help the Jewish world. Leah is enthusiastic about learning creative ways to further support our local community. At her first conference in Toronto, she met with seventy other young Jewish leaders. They quickly bonded over their passion and commitment to their local Jewish communities. Leah notes,

“Besides meeting an incredible network, the National Young Leadership Cabinet raised over $2.6 million for the Jewish Federations of North America.” As the first-ever participant from Central New York, Leah is hopeful that her involvement will motivate others to join in.

Leah and Seth have made a commitment to help the local Syracuse Jewish community thrive for many years to come, just as their parents and grandparents did here and in Omaha. They are committed to raising their family in Central New York and want their four sons to have the same strong connections with Judaism and the local Jewish community as they had as children.