- Meet Our Leaders
“I am always trying to find ways to engage other Jewish young adults who feel some connectivity with Jewish culture and religion and don’t know where to go to find community,” says Mitch Waxman, who was elected to the JFCS Board of Directors in July.
A native of Marin County, Mitch has known about Jewish Family and Children’s Services since childhood, through the involvement of his parents, Barbara and Scott Waxman, and his friends, including Aaron Tartakovsky, son of JFCS Executive Director Anita Friedman. He became personally involved after moving back to the Bay Area with then-girlfriend, now wife Melanie Polin.
An advisor within the Private Wealth Management division of Morgan Stanley, Mitch applied to JFCS’ prestigious New Leaders Fellowship Program and was selected for the 2019 – 2020 cohort. Mitch found that he especially appreciated the opportunity afforded by the Fellowship to engage in thoughtful discussions, often following teachings by renowned scholars from the Shalom Hartman Institute, with other young professionals interested in applying Jewish teachings to modern life. He has carried this forward beyond the fellowship program. Mitch says, “I find myself engaging in conversations with other Jewish young adults as we seek to apply Judaism to today’s challenges—including this time of pandemic.”
In 2020, Mitch and Melanie, who met while pursuing their Master of Business Administration degrees at the Kellogg School of Management, joined JFCS’ Young Professionals Donor Circle. Through their collective giving, the Donor Circle has funded special ventures, including the pilot of the Shupin Independent Living Community’s Special Connections program, a supportive opportunity for adults with autism and other disabilities to build their dating and relationship skills. Based on participants’ positive feedback and the high level of interest, Special Connections is now being offered regularly.
The skills, talents, and dedication to the community Mitch demonstrated as a Fellow and Donor Circle member led to Mitch being invited to join the Program and Planning Committee in 2020 and then to a conversation about his interest in joining the Board of Directors in 2021. “The JFCS Board has so many impressive members; at first, I thought I should wait a few years. Yet, I believe there is real benefit to having different ages and experiences on the Board,” says Mitch. “I feel a responsibility to share the perspectives and insights of our community’s young adults.”
Giving back to the Jewish community is a fundamental part of life for Melanie and Mitch, who were married in November. With Mitch’s commitment to building a strong, connected community and increasing engagement opportunities for Jewish young adults, we are excited about what he will help create at JFCS.