Two in East Bay take home young leadership awards

When it comes to leadership in the East Bay Jewish community, Lesser is more.

The Lesser awards (that’s not a value judgment; they’re named for Moses and Cecelia Lesser) for outstanding young leaders went this year to JB Leibovitch and Josh Sadikman.

This is the 40th year the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay has administered the award.

Leibovitch had said it was only a matter of time before he became heavily involved in the East Bay Jewish community — and, as is the case with so many others, that time came when his first child became old enough that he had to start thinking about Jewish education and which synagogue to attend.

After a successful tenure at the federation’s Young Leadership Division, Leibovitch graduated to the East Bay’s JCF board and finance committee — as well as holding a spot on the community leadership program and a seat on the board of Oakland Hebrew Day School.

“I went to Cal and I know the East Bay. [My wife and I] lived in San Francisco for a few years, and when we moved back, it was very easy for us to not be affiliated. It was the path of least resistance,” he recalled.

“What I’d like it to be is that the path of least resistance is to be involved and know the Jewish community is there and not be able to miss it.”

Sadikman actually was one of the founders of the YLD that served as Leibovitch's stepping stone into the Jewish community, and the creator of that organization’s “PicnicFest,” which he co-chaired for three years. Attendance doubled to 700 in that time period.

Sadikman also co-chaired the YLD Tel Aviv One mission to Israel in 2006 and serves on the board of Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland, where he is a fund-raiser for their Centennial Fund. His wife, Lisa, took home a Lesser award last year.

“I’ve lived in Israel and I’ve felt what it means to be strong and proud as a Jew,” he said.

“I think it’s deep in my blood to feel connected to [the Jewish community] and help it grow.”