Keshet recently spoke with Keshet’s newest Board Member Adam Simon about his work, relationship to Keshet, and what brings him joy.
Keshet: What made you want to join the Keshet Board?
Adam: From my time working at the Schusterman Family Philanthropies, I was really struck by not only Keshet’s ability to make change within the Jewish community, but also Idit’s and the leadership team’s broader vision about what Jewish life could be and what inclusivity could be.
Keshet: What does inclusivity or belonging mean to you?
Adam: I see what might sound contradictory, but a duality of LGBTQ+ individuals experiencing Jewish life effortlessly and smoothly and seamlessly while also experiencing Jewish life as an affirmation of their gender identity and sexual orientation. I see a Jewish community that values the mindsets, life experiences, and souls of LGBTQ+ individuals both as Jews and because of their personal identities.
Keshet: How has the Shabbaton and other Keshet programming impacted your family?
I’m the dad of a nonbinary teenager who’s trying to figure out how to navigate the world as a proud Jew.
Keshet has been this incredibly valuable anchor and community where my child can be fully themself and express their identity. Keshet has helped my extended family understand our child’s gender identity. Keshet has helped educate me and my wife about what Judaism can teach us about the experience of gender expression and sexual orientation.
Keshet: What brings you the most joy, personally and professionally?
Adam: So, the list is long, I’m blessed to say. I find joy in building great organizational systems. I find joy in a relaxing Shabbat dinner with family and friends. I find joy in nature and hiking. I find joy in singing. I find joy in a beautiful strategic plan. I find joy in seeing myself and seeing others accomplish things they didn’t think they could accomplish.
Adam Simon (he/him/his) has worked in philanthropy in and out of the Jewish community for 15 years. He currently is Executive Director of a global family foundation advancing Jewish learning, Judaism in Israel, peace between Israelis and Palestinians, civic engagement in the US, Democratic politics, and children within the US welfare and education systems. Prior to his current roles, Simon advanced leadership in the Jewish community and Jewish engagement at the Schusterman Family Philanthropies. He launched integrated funding, thought leadership, and digital communications strategies to maximize the impact of investments in Jewish life, and led efforts to recruit, develop, and retain exceptional professional and volunteer leaders for causes central to the foundation’s mission. Earlier in his career, Simon was Executive Director at Northwestern University’s Hillel and a manager of warehouse operations at an industrial supply company.
His significant contributions to the field of philanthropy include presentations for the National Center for Family Philanthropy, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, and Jewish Funders Network, as well as board service, committee leadership, and technical assistance for numerous national and local organizations. Simon is a member of the Leap Ambassadors, a network of social change leaders seeking to maximize impact by focusing on data, leadership, and evidence. He is an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education, and is a regular lecturer at Georgetown University School of Law and University of Maryland Graduate School of Public Policy, and has contributed to numerous publications.
Adam Simon attended Washington University in St. Louis, earning both a B.A. and an MBA in organizational design and marketing. He currently lives outside Washington, DC with his wife and is the father of two amazing children.