Gleanings: The Future of Leadership

Fall, 2016

Source: Gleanings. Fall, 2016. Volume 3, Issue 2


Gleanings is the ejournal of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of the Jewish Theological Seminary. What should we believe about leadership? How can we effectively educate for leadership? How might we build collaborative leadership for our communities?

“Leading Places to Work: Are Jewish Organizations Great Places to Work?” compiled by the organization Leading Edge, shows evidence that our community has significant challenges in recruiting and retaining professional talent. Previous to this report, the Bridgespan Group, noting that over the next five years, 75 percent of the CEOs and EDs of our institutions will be retiring, raised questions about professional pipelines and succession plans to ensure strong, effective leadership for the future.

We’re focusing on three key questions:

  • What are the Jewish community’s current beliefs and practices about leadership? Which of these beliefs should we continue to follow and which should we challenge?
  • What are the most effective approaches to educate and prepare tomorrow’s leaders?
  • What might effective leadership look like in an era of collaboration and teams?

To stimulate conversation, we’ve invited respected community thinkers to address these issues.

  • Gali Cooks of Leading Edge challenges our preconceived notions of the Jewish professional landscape and asks us to recalibrate our views on what leaders today need to know and be thinking about. We also examine ideas of adaptive leadership and design thinking in the piece by UpStart Bay Area’s Maya Bernstein; and Dr. Walter Herzberg, professor of Bible at JTS, shares insights that familiar Torah texts might offer us.
  • Mordy Walfish of Repair the World examines the use of listening and text in training emerging leaders to engage in service and social justice. Lyndall Miller of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute examines the power of reflection and the potent impact of Communities of Practice to shape the field. Justin Korda of the ROI Community considers how the network approach to educating and inspiring leadership—by strengthening what he calls “weak ties”—has the potential not only to nurture leadership but also to bring all Jews together.
  • Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu of Rabbis without Borders considers how dynamics of community engagement and team reliance strengthen one’s individual leadership potential, while Dori Kirshner of MATAN explores an individual’s impact in empowering a whole community.

We hope that this issue will help us realize that building effective leadership for our Jewish community is best achieved when we are in conversation with one another.

Updated: Nov. 16, 2016