For Ben Kellman, NextGen is about the people you meet and the lifelong friends you make.
“Get involved. Go to as many things as you can. The best part of the experience is the people: go meet people,” Ben advises NextGen newbies. “Not everything NextGen does is immediately obvious, so learn as much as you can in order to find the best place in the community for you.”
An active leader at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Ben is a member of NextGen’s At-Large Board and a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) Policy Board.
We spoke with Ben to learn more about him and his love for NextGen and the Jewish Federation:
How did you first get involved with NextGen and the Jewish Federation?
My cousin, Mitchell Sterling, has been involved in the Jewish Federation for a long time and encouraged me to get involved a few years ago. When he told me about the community and the ability to meet other like-minded people my age, it sounded like a great opportunity. So I started going to Shabbat in the City and a few other events — then I jumped at the opportunity to do Israel360 and travel to Israel. Since then, I've kept participating to stay involved with the group from my trip, NextGen and the JCRC Policy Board, which aligns directly with my interest in advocacy.
Throughout your leadership journey in the Jewish Federation, what has been one of your most memorable experiences? Why?
Israel360 was an opportunity to go to Israel in a different context than I'd ever gone before by traveling with peers and experiencing different parts of the country. It was a great chance to see the work that the Jewish Federation is doing in Israel, especially in our partnership region of Netivot and Sdot Negev. Seeing the country through multiple lenses and experiences was a really excellent way to visit. The trip also allowed me to see things in Israel that I'd never seen before, including in our partnership region and the diversity of the different neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
What is an organization, program or cause that the Jewish Federation supports that personally resonates with you? Why?
I really appreciate the work the Jewish Federation does to help local elderly and hungry people. We have been in a loneliness epidemic since well before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolation has been a major issue for older adults for many years and providing not only resources, but also company to these individuals makes an enormous difference.
Why do you give to the Jewish Federation?
It is clear to me that the incredible scope and impact of the Jewish Federation is something that is worth giving to. There are so many agencies and efforts that the Jewish Federation funds with donor money that I know will make a meaningful impact on people.
What are three fun facts about you?
- My family has lived in the Philadelphia area for over 100 years.
- I played football in college and rugby through my 20s.
- I have three younger brothers.
NextGen is the young professional affinity group of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. To learn more about NextGen, please email Max Moline at firstname.lastname@example.org and friend us on Facebook.