Hineni Fellow Jason Hoffman embraces Jewish life

October 8, 2021

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Jason Hoffman leads a Jewish life. When we caught up for this interview—to chat about his experience with United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Hineni Fellowship—he was hanging around an airport awaiting the arrival of his teenaged daughter, who was returning from a BBYO event in Pennsylvania. Hoffman clearly wants to insure his children understand the value and significance of being a proactive member within the Jewish community.

The Hoffmans lead by example. “I live the Jewish life and participate as much as I can because it’s important to me,” he says. “This is how I expose my kids to Jewishness, by showing them through example. It seems to be rubbing off,” he adds, noting this is his daughter’s second BBYO trip in less than a month.

A Wells Fargo financial advisor with 26 years of experience in the industry, Hoffman completed a yearlong Hineni Fellowship—along with his wife, Denise—in 2009. In addition to the mentorships, new friends, and inspiring trip to Israel, the Hineni participation made an additional impact for the Hoffmans.

“Being an interfaith family, we weren’t sure about being prominent in the Jewish community. That all went away through Hineni, doing it together,” Hoffman shares. “To be able to experience being members of the community on such an elevated level really superseded those worries. We came out stronger.”

Highlights of the Hineni program included a group dinner at Miles Leon’s house. “He and Sandra were so happy to have us. Sandra’s passion for the JCC is unrivaled. You just can’t help but be inspired by them.”

Another aspect of Hineni that resonated with Hoffman, who now leads as UJFT’s finance committee chair, was the mock allocation. The exercise helped the group understand that there are more requests than there are funds, how to navigate through the process, and how to make it work.

“It’s all worthy. It shines the light on why we ask for gifts and pledges. It compels you to be more involved, so we can adequately manage and steward the Federation.”

Returning from their end-of-Hineni Israel trip together, the Hoffmans became entrenched in the Federation. “Nothing bad has happened to me by participating; nothing bad comes from being generous. It’s an opportunity to be a stakeholder in your community. And you get out what you put in,” he adds.

The UJFT Annual Campaign, the Simon Family Foundation, and the Thomas Hofheimer Medical Mission support the Hineni Fellows leadership program. Donations directly aid in the mentorship of these future Jewish leaders. Visit JewishVA.org/Hineni or call 965-6139.

-Brian Berusch
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