I have grown up as a Conservative Jew. I am a third-generation member of Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim in Cranford, N.J., and was very active in my United Synagogue Youth (USY) chapter and in the Hagalil Region of USY in high school. Since arriving at Pace University, I began working to start a Hillel, and with the assistance of the director of Koach, Rabbi Elyse Winick, established a Koach presence on campus. My grandparents and parents have instilled strong Jewish values in me, and I hope to see the Conservative movement thrive for many generations to come.
When the program was about to be cut for budgetary reasons, students from all over North America, including myself, formed the Save Koach initiative. We were glad to see the USCJ budget revised and Koach given $100,000 with a reprieve until Dec. 31 to raise an additional $130,000.
I feel Koach is absolutely essential to the future of Conservative Judaism. Young Jews cannot make the leap from Conservative Jewish high school students to committed Conservative Jewish adults on their own. If we do not provide an infrastructure of involvement for Conservative college students, we run the risk of losing a whole generation of Conservative Jewish members and leaders.
Save KOACH (savekoach.org) has been hard at work devising fundraising strategies and improvements to the operating model. We plan to announce national fundraising initiatives in the coming weeks that are also intended to establish strong connections for the Koach participants to the greater Conservative community.
Junior, Pace University Manhattan