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Inside Leadership

In recent years, a number of studies have explored the benefits of dedicated leadership programs. In the corporate world, studies have shown that more than one-third of new hires have had little or no training, and nearly 20 percent of employees who quit within the first six months said it was because they didn’t receive sufficient training.

It’s a cautionary tale for the synagogue world, too.

Among the many responsibilities of lay leaders, cultivating a pipeline of vibrant, knowledgeable leaders is one of the most central – and ensures a worthy legacy. It leads to seamless...

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This year, from the evening of Sunday, December 6th, until the evening of Monday, December 14th, Jews worldwide gather together around the Hanukkah lights, spin the dreidel, eat latkes and jelly donuts, and celebrate the festival of Hanukkah.

Historically, Hanukkah, like so many Jewish holidays, is the story of a small Jewish army defeating a larger oppressing one. Around 167 B.C.E., Antiochus IV prohibited the practice of Judaism. The Temple was desecrated and many Jews were killed. Two groups rose up against Antiochus IV, and...

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Congregations are part family, part friendship group. They are microcosms of the Jewish world, a combination of what sociologist Daniel Elazar called "kinship and consent."

Families have biological boundaries that carry with them an innate sense of connectedness. At the recent URJ Biennial, I met the daughter of a cousin of mine whom I have known about for years but had never actually met before. There is an instant sense of "we belong to one another" that comes with family.

In their best moments, congregations offer that innate...

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In the Western Galilee where I live in northern Israel, the population is diverse – about half is Jewish with the other half a combination of Muslim, Christian, and Druze. Although many of us live in different cities and villages according to faith or culture, some of our communities are mixed, so we share many of the same entertainment venues, businesses, and institutions. We live and work together and must afford one another respect and understanding.

Located here is also a small European Christian Zionist village called Nes Ammim, comprising...

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Parent orientation is an emotional time at any school, especially for parents whose children are entering school for the first time. At Jewish early childhood centers, though, it’s not only about the excitement and nerves surrounding the first day of classes. For many of these parents, it’s also their first foray into Jewish institutional life as a family.

I began my role as director of the early childhood center at Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim (BJBE) on the first day of school last year. In addition to discovering where supplies were...

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About Inside Leadership

Inside Leadership, the blog at, is a source for Reform Jewish leaders to get the latest news and though-provoking articles about Jewish communal life.