On Sunday October 12th over 20 emerging young leaders spent time with our special guest, Dalia Golda from Bucharest Romania. Dalia, a 32 year old Jewish Romanian, is the quintessential can do young leader.
She, and her fellow Romanian contemporaries, products of JDC supported summer camps and leadership development programs, decided that they wanted to transform a dying community into a thriving one and that they have done.
Indeed, before World War II, Romania was home to up to 800,000 Jews in vibrant Yiddish speaking communities. Their surviving post War population dwindled to under 300,000 and decreased further due to immigration leaving under 20,000 (numbers vary based on sources) Jews in Romania today all remnants or a Holocaust decimated and communist era impacted community. But today Bucharest has a healthy, growing and vibrant Jewish community because Dalia, with the support of the JDC and a few of her like minded friends, decided that she wanted a JCC like other cities had. With the odds against her the JCC opened in 2005 with Dalia, a former computer science major, as its director. After several years, Dalia realized that a healthy community needed an educational system to secure its future and decided, knowing almost nothing about early childhood, to open a Jewish preschool. Told by community leaders and mentors that this would never succeed, today she is the director of the Gan Eden preschool in Bucharest Romania which opened in 2009 with 5 teachers and 3 children and now has 44 children and an after school program for their graduates.
Dalia impressed upon us that the cliché is reality; one person can make a difference and in her word “a fairy tale can emerge from a bad situation” .