Julie Wise-Oreck - Board of GovernorsThe Jewish Agency for Israel ©

“Make a commitment with your time or money”

"I was raised in a family where both my mother and father were always involved in volunteering in addition to working and family. In 1993, I was asked join a retreat of something called the National Young Leadership Council (NYLC) Cabinet. 
 
I walked into that retreat not knowing anyone or anything. And I was completely and totally blown away by the level of commitment—Jewishly—of the people in the room. They were excited to give of their money and their time. They were excited to be Jewish. They were excited to come together in this space. They were so energetic and so enthusiastic that I was completely and totally bitten by the bug of Jewish philanthropy. 
 
I remember calling my mother to tell her two things: I wanted to stay an extra day, because it was so cool—and secondly: that I had never seen so many Lion of Judah Pins in any place at any time. A Lion of Judah was a woman who donated at least $5,000 yearly. I was inspired. As my 'gift to go' – I immediately went to five. 
 
I met some of my close friends—who serve with me on The Jewish Agency Board of Governors now—through the NYL."
 
- Julie Wise-Oreck, Member of the Board of Governors, Donor

Q&A

What is your favorite Jewish Agency project?

My heart is with long-term experience programs like Masa Israel Journey because I chaired a program called OTZMA for a long time. Locally, in the US, we have to have Jewish Day Schools and Jewish camping—that is going to be the survival of the Jewish community. But, we still lose a lot afterwards—so Taglit-Birthright and Masa fill that gap.

What is leadership to you?

Making a commitment with time or money—or both. To put yourself in the position of leading; of asking people to join you, to do things. The most important thing is to make sure that there are people following you who can take over from you.

What do you wish for?

My wish is that my children live healthy, long, and happy lives. I'm sure your mother wishes the same for you. And I'll bet you'll wish the same for your kids.

"Make the world a better place"

"Through all the organizations with which I have been involved, I have been lucky to be exposed to incredible leaders and teachers. I probably quote one of them when I say that for me, being Jewish is all about tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam. That's everything. Tikkun olam is making the world a better place—starting with our people in Israel and around the world. I'd say I'm definitely a Zionist. I'm not an ardent Zionist. I feel that what we can do to better and improve the Jewish world that has Israel at its center. On a site visit, the guide gave us a terrible statistic that there are about 400,000 youth at-risk in Israel today. If it were not for the people raising money, the youth benefiting from those organizations would be on the streets."

Julie Wise-Oreck - Board of Governors