Mitzvah Maker — Kevin Fishkind

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington recently announced the winner of its Jerome J. Dick Young Leadership Award:  Kevin Fishkind.

Gather the Jews:  Congratulations, Kevin!  Can you tell us a little bit about the award and what you did to win it?  Big cash prize?!

Kevin with his wife (Meryl) and his daughter (Ruby).

KF:  I have been involved with Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (JFGW) for 6 or 7 years.  My wife and I were introduced to JFGW by taking a Jewish Heritage Class with Erica Brown (she’s the greatest).  I have also been a volunteer and participant in Young Leadership Programs including Nexus and Nexus Next Step.  My first leadership role was (along with my wife) as Co-Chair of Dialogues with JFGW.  For the last two years I have served as Co-Chair of Young Leadership along with Eva Davis (2010-11) and Jeremy Rosen 2011.  We have made amazing strides and, along with the professional staff, have created a Young Leadership Board.

GTJ:   Dialogues… tell us more about that!

KF: This is a JFGW program for Young Couples in the DC/MD/VA area.  Most of the programs for young people in Washington DC are located in the District and cater to a single crowd.  Dialogues is a way for young couples that are dealing with similar challenges in marriage or career or raising children to interact with other couples and also stay connected to the Jewish Community.

GTJ:  If you could give one thing to the young professional Jewish community of Washington, DC, or if you could improve one thing about the community, what would you do?

KF:   I would like to create a better network for young Jewish Professionals to conduct business with one another and also connect for personal reasons.  I am passionate about passing on Jewish traditions and values to the next generation and I think we need a connected community to accomplish this.  We need to make being Jewish “cool” and a club or “tribe” that people want to be a part of.  In general, our generation is less interested in religion and this matters less if you are a Catholic as there are still plenty of Catholics out there.

GTJ:  If you had to give this award to another person, whom (other than your wife) would you give it to?

KF:  Sorry to cheat here but I would give the award to Jeremy Rosen, Rachel Cohen Gerrol, and Josh Stevens.  Eva Davis has already won the award and is deserving.  All four of these young leaders inspire me.

GTJ:  That’s the second week in a row that Jeremy Rosen has gotten a shoutout.  See Casey’s interview.  Unprecedented!!

GTJ:  When not saving the Jewish community of DC from evil monsters, what do you do (… What’s your day job?)

KF: I work as a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.  I help clients answer 2 questions: Do I have enough money to make it?  Are there any blind spots in my plan?

GTJ:  Describe the DC young professional community with four adjectives.

KF:   Intelligent, Driven, Caring, and Socially Aware