Spotlight on National Young Leadership Cabinet’s Mission Trip to Israel: Ben Kogut | Shalom Austin

Spotlight on National Young Leadership Cabinet’s Mission Trip to Israel: Ben Kogut

The Jewish Outlook

Jun 29, 2022

NYLC at the ORT school in K’far Silver. Curtesy: Ben Kogut

By Alachua Haskins

National Young Leadership Cabinet is Jewish Federation of North America’s premier young leadership development program that educates and connects the next generation of global Jewish leaders and philanthropists. Cabinet trains and inspires the most promising young volun­teers ages 30-40 for positions of leadership in the Jewish community. It also provides tools for participants to better themselves and their capacity as leaders through continued learning, reflection and action over five years.

In Austin, there are three current Cabinet members. One Cabinet member, Ben Kogut shared details about his recent mission trip to Israel and what makes Cabinet special to him.

Ben Kogut at the President of Israel’s residence.Ben Kogut at the President of Israel’s residence. Courtesy: Ben Kogut

What was your mission trip?

“This mission trip included about 100 people from all across North America. Our goal was to see the different organizations that JFNA supports in Israel and we were able to visit 10 different organizations on the trip. I was so impressed with the diver­sity of the organizations we saw, their struc­ture, and their efficiency, both monetarily and otherwise. I was particularly impressed with the ability of the Jewish Agency to mobilize a call center in a matter of hours, and to get resources to Moldova, Poland, and other countries adjacent to Ukraine to provide aide. It was so meaningful to know that our local Shalom Austin Annual Campaign donations helped make that happen.

What was your most meaningful experience on this trip?

“There were so many meaningful experi­ences! Being in Jerusalem is always very special to me and this time was no different. We also got to visit the ORT school where underprivileged students have access to high-level STEAM education. Addition­ally, we were able to see how Israel takes in refugees from Ukraine and other places, including spending time at an Ethiopian absorption center for people coming to Israel who need resources to learn Hebrew, get housing, find job opportunities, and more. Finally, we got to spend about an hour with the Israeli President. Getting access to people of that status highlights just how prestigious Cabinet is.”

Where else have you traveled with Cabinet?

“I went to Mexico City and was able to visit the JCC there, where they have a three-prong entrepreneurial program for members of the community looking to start a business, grow a business or sell a business. I would love to see that happen in Austin.

The Jewish community also came together to create their own ambulance system to serve everyone, not just Jews, and I was really inspired by that. I also take part in a yearly retreat specifically for real estate professionals. There are about 40-50 people who go to Colorado ever summer for networking and professional devel­opment. It is one of my favorite Cabinet experiences.”

What would you tell someone thinking about joining Cabinet?

“If you are somebody who enjoys being involved in the community and wants to take your leadership to the next level, this opportunity is as high as it gets on the young leadership ladder in the Jewish community! You’ll be able to meet people from across North America, build deep relationships, travel to unique places, and be surrounded by like minded individuals who care not only about their local Jewish community, but about Jews all over the world.”

 To learn more about Cabinet and apply to join, contact Alachua Haskins at alachua. haskins@shalomaustin.org.

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