The purpose of enhancing cooperation is threefold:


  • Enhance the “community” aspect of Jewish life in the Twin Cities
  • Enhance the quality of community programming
  • Achieve greater economic efficiency


Jewish Metropolitan Council members named

The Minneapolis Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul have appointed eight community members to serve on the Jewish Metropolitan Council, a body created by Federations to help achieve greater collaboration and cooperation across the Twin Cities Jewish community.


The following people were selected:

  • Erin Baldinger
  • Mark Divine
  • Dani Fisher
  • Robert Karasov
  • Robin Landy
  • Karen Schanfield
  • Marsha Schoenkin
  • Deb Weiss


They will serve with Jon Parritz and Howie Milstein, co-chairs of the Council. The selection process was conducted by a search committee consisting of Federation presidents Howard Zack and Steve A. Brand; CEOs James Cohen and Rob Jacobs; planning directors Judie Rothschild and Judy Sharken Simon; and the Council co-chairs. 


“We thank everyone who was interested in serving on the Council. We had 27 well-qualified nominations for eight positions,” said Jon Parritz. “We reviewed each application carefully and sought to create a group of individuals who brought diverse skill sets and backgrounds. Needless to say, the selection was difficult.”


Each of the appointees brings a passion for the community, proven leadership experience across multiple Jewish communal organizations, and an interest in building bridges between organizations to enhance Jewish life. “As I see our millennial generation (which I am also a part of) start to take more active leadership roles, building a stronger community together is something I am very passionate about,” said Mark Divine. 


“Through my participation in Harry Kay, I have learned a lot about the larger Twin Cities community,” said Erin Baldinger. “I am eager to help coordinate more consistent and productive collaboration across St. Paul and Minneapolis.”


The Council is expected to begin meeting in November. “We’re looking forward to getting started and looking at the ways in which we can facilitate working together for the benefit of our entire Jewish community,” said Howie Milstein. 


The Jewish Metropolitan Council will provide feedback and high-level strategic vision regarding collaboration and greater integration between the Jewish communities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, be an ambassador for promoting bi-city collaborative initiatives, and serve as a vehicle to enhance communication and ongoing reporting between and among each Federation board and other communal agencies.


For more information, contact Judy Sharken Simon, planning director, Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul, 651-695-3182, or Judie Rothschild, director of Community Impact, Minneapolis Jewish Federation, 952.417.2356,

Panel Status

The panel researching this priority consists of an equal number of St. Paul and Minneapolis Jewish community members appointed by the Federation presidents. It is an outgrowth of efforts in both communities to enhance cooperation.  


Phase 1


The panel examined the history and current state of cooperation between the two communities, both what has been and is currently working successfully, as well as areas which are or have been problematic.


Then the panel conducted 22 targeted interviews of community professionals and rabbis in St. Paul and Minneapolis. 


The panel concluded the first portion of work and issued a report on their findings. 


Phase 2


For the last two years, a six-person panel - comprised of three people from the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul and three people from the Minneapolis Jewish Federation - has been working together with the aim of ensuring that collaboration in the Jewish community continues and expands.


The panel was formed in the fall of 2014 and was the product of initiatives originating in each community. The scope of the panel was to improve collaboration and cooperation not only between the Federations, but between the Jewish communities.


The panel comprehensively gathered data and opinions from local agency professionals and comparable communities across the country.


The panel's report and recommendations were unanimously approved by the St. Paul Federation Board at their September meeting and the Minneapolis Federation Board at their October meeting.



Establish a Twin Cities metropolitan-wide council to work with our Federations and other community agencies with the aim of fostering and growing collaborative efforts across the metropolitan area.


Convene periodic mini-general assemblies (summits/conferences) for Minnesota Jewish professionals and lay leaders to enhance cross-agency communication and serve as an engine for generating new ideas.


Appoint collaboration liaisons to coordinate each organization's participation in collaborative communial projects.

Panel Members

Jon Parritz, co-chair

Kris MacDonald, co-chair

Mark Adelman


Holly Brod Farber

Jacy Grais


Todd Lifson