Be on the lookout for the refreshed Hineni!

by | Apr 19, 2019 | Uncategorized

Hineni, HERE I AM!

For those who don’t know, Hineni!, is the young leadership program of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Designed 10 years ago to build and nourish leaders, Hineni! is a highly successful program that takes place on alternate years. Hineni! participants engage in workshops to deepen their knowledge of leadership, themselves, and the Jewish community. Training culminates with the highly subsidized Tom Hofheimer Young Leadership Mission to Israel, a unique opportunity that is usually an eye-opening and life-changing trip for all.

The community grows and thrives thanks to the dedicated and generous leaders who spend time building bridges and opportunities for Jews locally and around the world. The Young Adult Division of the UJFT (YAD) is committed to helping young community members become those leaders.

To maximize the program for the future, an advisory committee, comprised of Hineni! alumni from each year, in addition to a few community leaders, met three times with specific goals for each meeting. The group focused on what future leaders need, what worked best, and how the program should look moving forward. A diverse curriculum guide was created focusing on the values of Tikkun Olam, Tzedakkah, and Klal Israel.

Megan Zuckerman, a Hineni! alumni and current chair of the Community Relations Council, says, “For myself and my husband, Steve, our Hineni! experience was our foray into this vibrant and compassionate Jewish community. We were new to the area with our first child in diapers, and the Tidewater Couples project and the subsequent Hineni! program provided the outlet we desired to form long-lasting friendships and to be a part of giving back to a cause greater than ourselves. We both dove in head first and have never turned back.

“The Hineni! program laid the foundation for all our resulting leadership positions,” says Zuckerman. “Thus, I was proud to serve on the Hineni! reorganization committee. I have high hopes for the program to grow stronger and more robust bringing a new class of excited young Jewish adults ready to dive into this incredibly special community that time and again rewards you tenfold with whatever level of effort you can provide.”

Monique Werby, a Hineni! alumni, past YAD Cabinet member, and current Kiryat Yam Committee co-chair, says, “Being a participant in the Tidewater Couples and Hineni! programs introduced me to UJFT and educated me about the impact our community makes locally and globally. On a more personal level, the programs helped cement friendships that had just begun to blossom. We shared a common goal of improving the Jewish community, and we shared so many meaningful experiences over the two-year program and particularly on our Tom Hofheimer Young Leadership Mission to Israel!

“I was so impressed with my experience that I recruited others to join in subsequent years,” says Werby. “We want future leaders to benefit from the same amazing experiences we had, so we worked to save the best of what has been. At the same time, the committee also worked through some tough debates to make changes that we know will serve the participants and the community and make Hineni! even better moving forward!”

Alyssa Muhlendorf, Hineni! alumni and advisory committee member says, “Hineni! is our community’s investment in younger leaders to ensure we have the foundation and tools to make positive change in our community. It’s an exciting opportunity to learn and connect with other people who want to sustain and be a part of a thriving Jewish community in Tidewater.”

As in the past, Hineni! is an exclusive fellowship, and only community members with leadership interest and potential will be offered the opportunity to participate. Applications and nomination forms will be available starting in June and the Fellowship begins in January 2020.

Those who are interested in starting a leadership path or know of anyone who would be a great leader for the community should complete the nomination form available at or email Jasmine Amitay at

Jasmine Amitay