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2019-02-08 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


February 8, 2019  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Young leaders’ program renamed, endowed in memory of Barnett

Hope Cohen Barnett Hope Cohen Barnett In honor of Hope Cohen Barnett, the first woman president of the Tampa Jewish Federation and an active member of the local Jewish community until her death last June, the Jewish Leadership Training Institute has been renamed the Hope Cohen Barnett Leadership Institute.

The leadership institute is a joint project of the Tampa JCCs and Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties.

An endowment fund is being created at the TOP Jewish Foundation by Barnett’s husband, Leslie J. Barnett, to support, in perpetuity, the program. The Leadership Institute is designed to inspire young adults between the ages of 25 and 40 to get involved and assume leadership roles including within local Jewish community organizations and beneficiary agencies of the two Jewish federations.

More than 200 emerging leaders have graduated from the program, with more than 60 graduates currently holding leadership positions on boards and committees of local and national Jewish and non- Jewish non-profit organizations and agencies.

Barnett was only 30 when she became the first woman president of the Tampa Jewish Federation. She rose through the ranks by serving on many committees and holding leadership positions, including campaign chair, board secretary and Tampa’s representative to the federation’s national Women’s board.

Her leadership inspired the founding of the Federation’s annual “Hope Cohen Barnett Young Leadership Award” in 1983. She also served on the boards of the Tampa Jewish Community Center (before it merged with the Federation), Congregation Rodeph Sholom, and the State of Israel Bonds Young Leadership Committee. In 2008, Barnett received the Jewish Federations of North America’s Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Lion of Judah Award for outstanding communal leadership.

In 1995, Hope was quoted as saying, “Being Jewish is fun. We laugh, sing, dance, and even in our period of mourning, the object is to offer comfort. We need our young people to feel the positive force that surrounds them and involves them, enriches their lives and commits them to carry out our legacy.”

This goes a long way to reflect the way she looked at the world.

“I cannot think of a more perfect way to honor Hope, her legacy and what she cared about,” said Les Barnett. “Her involvement early on as a young leader instilled in her a deep sense of commitment and knowledge of the Jewish Federation and the community. She was passionate about educating and nurturing emerging young leaders throughout her service as a volunteer. I know Hope would be proud for this program to be named in her honor.”

The creation of the endowment fund will enable the Federation to add new features to the program over time, including a social action component and additional classes to educate participants about the important work of the Federation.

“We are so honored to attach Hope’s name to our most effective program for developing young leaders,” said Joe Probasco, president of the Tampa JCCs & Federation, who was in the first JLTI class. “The Jewish Leadership Training Institute literally changed the trajectory of my life as a volunteer as it opened the door to a large number of opportunities to get involved. Thanks to Les’ generosity and commitment, we will be able to inspire the next generation of leaders and donors to engage more deeply with our federations and develop future Jewish community leaders in perpetuity.”

For more information about the Hope Cohen Barnett Leadership Institute, contact Lisa Robbins, director of Young Adult Engagement for the Tampa JCCs & Federation (813) 769-4723 or email

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