(Page 3 of 3)
“There was a reaffirmation that we wanted federations to be responsible for raising funds to support Jewish life in Milwaukee,” Benjamin said. “But secondly that they wanted the federation to serve as the convener centrally within the community, and when Jews needed to come together we should be responsible to bring them together.”
As part of the “reimagining,” the federation underwent a heavy staff turnover. Benjamin said that fundraising was up since the process began.
According to Benjamin, Rosenthal was enthusiastic about the community-building aspect of the new position. “Milwaukee is a perfect-sized city,” she told The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle in an interview](http://www.jewishchronicle.org/article.php?article_id=13720). “It’s got a fabulous Jewish community that just went through a process that affirms that it wants to embrace change and make the Federation even better and the Jewish community even better. What more could you want?”
Some in Milwaukee have raised concerns about the hire. Ivan Lang, a professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin and an activist with a group called the Committee for Truth and Justice, has circulated a petition raising questions about the pick.
“This is a sensitive position representing all Jews in Milwaukee, and its polarizing when that person… very strongly favors only one political position,” Lang said, citing Rosenthal’s ties to J Street and the Democratic Party.
Lang complained of a lack of communication from the federation leadership. “Those of us who are worried about this polarization issue have not been given any concrete specific reasons why this polarization issue has been overcome,” Lang said. “It would be nice if they would give us something specific, and not something general, like, oh she’s a nice person.”
So far, Lang said, his petition had 50 signatories.