Alla AI

Jewish Parent Academy (JPA) – Advocacy, Leadership and Beyond

Last week marked a significant milestone in my journey with the Jewish Parent Academy (JPA) as I was honored at the inaugural JPA Summer Soiree for my dedication to advocacy within the corporate space. While my Jewish journey didn’t start with JPA, its impact on my commitment to advocacy has been profound. Receiving this award from an organization I deeply cherish was both an honor and a privilege.

As part of the 1.5 generation, many of us, immigrants who arrived as children, often growing up with little or no exposure to religion but with a profound, albeit skewed, sense of our Jewish identity. Now, as we raise our own children, we endeavor to provide them with a richer heritage—one that extends beyond material possessions to include a profound sense of belonging. Just recently, we celebrated my son’s bar mitzvah, a momentous occasion and the first in three generations. Furthermore, the sight of 400 JPAers proudly marching in solidarity with Israel up Fifth Avenue speaks volumes, reflecting a tenfold increase from our inaugural parade in 2018. In the face of surging antisemitism, our involvement and support are not merely optional but imperative.

400+ JPAers proudly marching along Fifth Avenue in the annual Israel Day Parade

In my corporate job, I have been involved in initiating the Jewish Employee Resource Group (ERG) and facilitating various events ranging from informative discussions with esteemed figures like David Harris to cultural gatherings such as Passover Wine Tastings. By connecting with leaders across different companies through a global Jewish ERG, we have been able to share resources and organize initiatives like trips to the Nova Music Festival Exhibition.

Jewish Parent Academy has been instrumental in equipping me and countless others with the tools necessary for engaging in informed discussions on complex and often contentious issues. It has empowered me to challenge the status quo and envision a world where Russian-speaking Jewish (RSJ) families in America rediscover their heritage with pride and passion. This is the vision of JPA—a grassroots movement dedicated to nurturing vibrant, resilient communities through immersive Jewish education tailored for parents raising the next generation.

Through cohort-based adult learning initiatives led by esteemed faculty, JPA offers an unparalleled platform to strengthen Jewish identity. Beyond the classroom, JPA’s programs encompass a diverse array of community events, including lectures, tours, volunteer opportunities, and holiday celebrations. By fostering connections to the broader Jewish world while honoring our distinct heritage, JPA cultivates a profound sense of belonging and solidarity among participants.

Community Event in Brooklynon October 12 with David Harris
Community Event discussing Jewish priorities with the editor and two of the contributors of the Jewish Priorities: 65 Proposals for the Future of Our People; David Hazony, Ruth R. Wisse and David Bernstein!

Supporting Jewish Parent Academy enables it to expand its reach and scalable model beyond the Tri-State area to develop innovative programs, and empower more RSJ parents nationwide to serve as torchbearers of Jewish life for generations to come. Together, we can weave an unbreakable tapestry of Jewish identity, ensuring that our communities thrive with vibrancy and resilience as did generations before us. 

Each of us has a role to play, and our collective strength is formidable. As I recently heard at a Bring Them Home rally, “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist or to accept the responsibility for changing them.” We must be willing to effect change, both in our hearts and in our actions. We must stand united, loud, and proud.

For me, the journey wouldn’t be possible without the Jewish Parent Academy. To those unsure of where to start, I urge you to begin with JPA—LEARN, Engage, Support:

– Empower yourself with knowledge.
– Connect with like-minded peers.
– Advocate within your organization or peer groups to address antisemitism.
– Draw strength from your community to be resilient in the face of challenges.
– Practice gratitude for progress, no matter how small.
– Get creative in your advocacy efforts—”if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.”

It’s essential to learn about the journeys of those who fought for our right to be here, including luminaries like David Harris. Armed with knowledge, we can continue to empower others, for that is true leadership. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Alla AI accepting her award at the JPA Summer Soiree Gala

#CommunityStartsHere #AmYisraelChai 


About the Author
Alla is a passionate advocate for continuous learning, Judaism, and promoting a positive Jewish sentiment. She is dedicated to fostering a strong sense of community and connection among her children, friends, and other RSJs (Russian-speaking Jews), while also working towards changing the narrative on American Jewry. Alla finds joy in theater, travel, and embracing new challenges. Above all, she treasures quality time spent with family and friends as well as making meaningful new connections.
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