Position in JFNA cabinet highlights meaningful summer for rGEN’s Haley Trager


By Jewish Federation of Jacksonville


Haley Trager, campaign chair for The Jewish Federation of Jacksonville's rGEN (young adult) Division is back in the Sunshine State following a busy summer filled with flights and memories. With Federation trips to Israel and Arizona, Trager was named the recipient of the Ilene Sari Selevan Young Leadership Award, in addition to being appointed to the Jewish Federations of North America's Young Leadership Cabinet.


“The National Young Leadership Cabinet is a very special group of young professionals throughout North American who are choosing to participate in their local Federations at a high level,” said Jewish Federation of Jacksonville Executive Director Alan Margolies. “They do this with both expressions of Tzedakah and leadership and all of us are very proud of Haley for being chosen to go on the cabinet.”


Trager will receive her Young Leadership award at the Federation’s annual campaign kick-off, scheduled for Nov. 9th, but embarked on her six-year term starting in August, with a trip to Scottsdale, Ariz., where other cabinet members joined her for JFNA’s National Young Leader's Cabinet Retreat.


“It’s such an honor, especially for someone who chose Judaism and was so welcomed into our local Jewish community,” Trager explained. "I feel one way I can give back is by representing Jacksonville on the Young Leader's Cabinet, which will give our community more exposure on a national and international level."


 National Young Leadership Cabinet is comprised of Jewish philanthropists under the age of 45 who serve as leaders within Federation communities on the local and national level, as well as being liaisons between Federation and Jews in populations being served by campaign dollars worldwide.


Trager joins a very special group of her peers who during their time serving on Cabinet travel all over the world on Study Missions to Judaism's most vulnerable populations in order to advocate for their needs.


Besides her domestic travel, the Jacksonville resident also logged miles to Israel in July as part of JFNA’s campaigners mission, modeled after a similar trip set in motion by the Federation here in Jacksonville. On that trip, she joined executive director Alan Margolies and fellow rGEN young professional Stefanie Levine to more fully appreciate and learn about Federation’s mission and how dollars donated in North America can cross oceans and international boundaries to quite literally save lives.


“I’ve been to Israel before, but really as a tourist, so this was a very different experience for me because I was able to meet individuals whose lives were transformed by different agencies that Federation supports,” she described of her summer experience. Those overseas agencies Trager speaks of includes the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee or JDC. “Anyone from a Holocaust survivor or someone who is special needs to women reentering the workforce and even Ethiopian Jews who have made Aliyah, I saw what amazing work is being done.”  


 “It was both a pleasure and an honor to share that experience with them,” Margolies said. “Ever since Haley attended the National Women’s Lion of Judah Conference, she has brought her talent and enthusiasm to Federation and we are so lucky to have her participating with us.”


“While I was in Israel, I met a Holocaust survivor who was never before able to talk about his memories until he entered a program that is supported by Federation and the JDC,” Trager explained. “I can now be an outlet and share those people’s stories with others who haven’t had a chance to meet them, so for me it is both an obligation and an honor to do so.”


Trager and her husband Jason are members of the Jacksonville Jewish Center and are co-chairing next year's L'dor V'Dor fundraiser in celebration of the DuBow Preschool's 75th anniversary. Haley and Jason also chaired this year's rGENerosity, rGEN's first fundraiser. 


“Jason and I were both raised with the idea that philanthropy is important and we feel that it’s our responsibility,” the Young Leadership Award winner said. “So it’s one that I’m thankful for and that I love doing.”