In every organization there is something that works. In every organization...
There is work, and there is service, and I learned the difference during those few years in the United States military. Being a rabbi was a way of life and not a way to earn a living. Being a Naval chaplain was not merely a way of life but a giving over of my life to the service of my country.
In every organization there is something that works. In every organization people are eager to share their positive connections to the organization. In every organization people are comfortable on the journey toward the future when they bring with them the very best of the past.
In the Jewish community, we can no longer ignore the strict division between organizations. Our clients deserve better relationships between the organizations with which they affiliate. We need to act not in the best interest of self-preservation, but in the best interests of our clients and the Jewish people as a whole.
ילדים יהודים שפחדו לבקר בכבר ערבי – עכשיו מגיעים כמה פעמים בשבוע, ובלי היסוס מתארחים בבתי חבריהם בקרקס. הקרקס בהחלט הצליח ליצור מכנה משותף תרבותי, שפה משותפת, אמון הדדי – במקום שקודם לא היו אלה קיימים
The servant leadership model was introduced by Robert Greenleaf in his 1970 book, “The Servant as Leader.” This particular leadership framework is built around ten operational principles, including the following concepts: the importance of listening; the art of persuasion; a heightened sense of empathy; self-awareness; and a capacity to think beyond the immediate challenges by providing a longer term perspective (conceptualization). According to Greenleaf, “The servant-leader is servant first … It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.”
We spent two mornings a week discussing Jewish texts, philosophy, social work, anthropology, and most of all social change. Our experience would not be complete without the supplemental discussions that frequently illustrated that while we were all committed to our work in Gedera, it was mostly our relationships with community members that created social change rather than any specific project on which we worked.
I noticed one client, Charice, curiously standing on the outskirts, waiting her turn. Finally, she had her chance: “I wasn’t here when you left, but surely you remember me. Charice Johnson! DC Jail!”
The goal of the ’oved Hashem is primarily to (discern and to) do God’s will, to live a life of avdut, service. The dispositional goal of service-learning, then, is to transform individuals not into problem solvers or world repairers, but, first and foremost, into servants.
A Jewish day school’s curriculum for teaching Jewish values can speak volumes. How these values manifest themselves in relationships between learners and educational leaders, how they are demonstrated in classroom management and discipline, and how they factor into social action programs can indicate if the school considers Judaism to be a value added or a core value of the school.
Is there such a thing as sinat hinam, baseless hatred?
Usually when we hate something or someone, we believe we are justified–we have cause. Somebody slighted us, or even worse overtly harmed us. We disagree with their politics. We think they are disingenuous. I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone who hated someone or something and could declare that it was a baseless hatred.
In the name of the values of community, collaboration and pluralism, the JCC is highlighting and promoting the variety of Jewish organizations in our area and showcasing the work other organizations are doing. Rather than competing for financial resources, membership or time, the JCC is embracing a cooperative model, demonstrating the benefits of being part of a community.
Recently, the organizations that ran immersive Jewish service learning experiences, in larger numbers, specifically AJWS (internationally) and Bend the Arc (domestically), either have stopped or are about to stop doing them. From my perspective this creates an educational challenge and an opportunity – one that sacred service leaders should embrace.
If plausible deniability of responsibility is enough of a justification for inaction, then what motivates people to act? In telling the story of Swiss Border Guard Paul Gruninger who actively disobeyed Nazi legislation by helping Jews illegally cross the border into Switzerland, Press notes that it was Gruninger’s ability to humanize the Jewish people rather than seeing them as evil, as many Nazi officials had sought to impress upon the lower guard and the people, that empowered him to act.
The Jewish community has always been larger than the synagogue community, a fact we ignore at our own peril. Sacred service-learning is an attempt to broaden the horizons of emerging religious leaders, who increasingly will not fill existing jobs, but rather co-create them.
The philosophy behind sacred service-learning is similar to that of Mussar (Jewish ethical practice): we learn and change through doing. Our doing impacts our being, and our learning affects our actions. This is why I chose to take Mussar: it was directly applicable to service-learning.
Part of my job as a fellow is presenting “Safe Zone Trainings” to the Jewish community. These trainings are meant to help create advocacy and allyship. They also help organizations create a safe environment for LGBT members of their communities. It was in one such training that I was asked a question that would revolutionize how I understood not only my work, not only advocacy, but also how these connected to my Judaism.
We intend to express religious identity outside of the sanctuary, to connect our souls and our soles, and to reclaim the proposition that a religious leader needs to be three dimensional—working on a relationship with God, with people and with self.
By Brian Jaffee and Michael R. Oestreicher Funders are often asked to describe how they set priorities and what motivates them to invest in particular programs in certain moments in time. During the formative years of what is proving to be a new epoch in the history of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, one in […]
Beneath my dread of all of the practical instruction on how to be a rabbi is a belief that, until very recently, I held with great conviction: the nuts and bolts of being a successful rabbi can only be learned over the course of the rabbinate, not within the walls of HUC.
By Rabbi Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D The launch of an online journal dedicated to the training of rabbis towards 21st century communal leadership through religious service-learning is cause for celebration. Its emergence in the first institution of rabbinic education in the western hemisphere, here in Cincinnati, Ohio, says much about our College-Institute. Most importantly, it reflects […]