Train the wise and they will become wiser, teach the righteous and they will continue to learn.
Proverbs 9:9
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What Moses Teaches us About Leadership Transition

What Moses Teaches us About Leadership Transition

I was lucky. When I became the rabbi of my congregation, I followed a revered leader who had served the congregation for 25 years. He welcomed me graciously and lovingly, making it clear to the congregation that I was now the senior rabbi. Many colleagues have not been as lucky. Leadership succession is delicate and complex. It evokes deep emotions and fears. It raises questions of legacy, mortality, and self-worth. The [...]

What the Dog Saw

What the Dog Saw

“No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking” (Voltaire) I have often wondered why we often come up with organisation wide responses to situations or issues that arise; we compile a new policy and procedure or we may embark upon another audit when it feels at the back of the mind that there is another solution that is possibly more cost effective that will get to the heart of [...]

Why We Don´t Want ‘Strong Jewish Identities’

Why We Don´t Want ‘Strong Jewish Identities’

Imagine, if you will, Jewish educational hopes in the 1950s and 60s. Back then, the Jewish world – unconsciously, no one talked about it – was still reeling from the Shoah. Israel was uncontroversial but hardly easily accessible and a bit of an esoteric interest to many Jews. We kind of knew we couldn’t go on as we had but no-one much had any idea as to what to do [...]

Expressing myself without fear

Expressing myself without fear

One of the differences between freedom and slavery is marked by the ability to express oneself without fear. Saying what you want. Screaming or keeping quiet. Learning freedom to exercise it, discovering the power of the word contained in the message. It is no coincidence that some like to divide the name of the holiday to read pe – sach –the mouth that speaks-. As we must make use of [...]

Empowered Humility: Leveraging Your Limitations in Philanthropy

Empowered Humility: Leveraging Your Limitations in Philanthropy

Andrés Spokoiny’s Annual Address to the 2016 JFN Conference The rabbis of the Talmud read the story of the creation of the world and struggled to understand why humanity was created last in all creation. They explained it, as they often liked to do, with a paradox. Man’s position in creation should keep him humble, they said, since even the most insignificant of insects was created before him. But the [...]

In education less is more. Some lessons from a trip to Helsinki.

In education less is more. Some lessons from a trip to Helsinki.

Change is in the air for European Jewish schools, particularly when a group of 30 principals from across Europe gathers in Helsinki to learn firsthand about what is ostensibly the best educational system in the world. The mission was organized by the European Council of Jewish Communities and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, hosted by the Jewish Community of Helsinki and participants came from the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, [...]

Contradictions Mark Views on Jewish Future in Europe, Survey Says

Contradictions Mark Views on Jewish Future in Europe, Survey Says

With fresh debate on the future of Europe’s Jews once again in the news, an opinion survey of European Jewish leaders on their current status and future reveals a mix of apprehension and optimism present in the community. These leaders – who together with their fellow Jews face a surge of anti-Semitism, rising nationalism, terrorism, and economic uncertainty – were surveyed in the “Third Survey of European Jewish Leaders and [...]

Newsletters, social media and other ways of engaging

Newsletters, social media and other ways of engaging

The main purpose of this article is for us to reflect on how some Jewish organizations in Europe use their newsletters to communicate to their audience. Jewish organizations use different tools to communicate about their programs. Word of mouth, phone calls, boards, flyers, websites, newsletters, social media, apps, are some of these tools. They are the means to make sure that the information gets to the targeted market. In the [...]

After the Paris attacks: Fly, Fight, Hide or Strive?

After the Paris attacks: Fly, Fight, Hide or Strive?

You can give a dry massage, with no oil, or even oily massage utilizing extra virgin olive oil. In the wedding you do intend using any oil place a little amount with it on her within arm and vanish for about ten min. Examine to ensure there carries on be no reaction Michael Kors Handbags prior to massaging your loved one’s.Watch: Accessories rejoice! A person first invest in TW Steel [...]

European Jewish Educators Take Stock, Plan for the Future

European Jewish Educators Take Stock, Plan for the Future

At a time when various crises roil Europe, the theme of this year’s Arachim Conference, “Challenges and Solutions,” was markedly resonant among the continent’s Jewish educators who gathered in Warsaw for the annual confab. More than 80 Jewish school principals and educators representing 20 European countries traveled to the Polish capital for Arachim’s seventh biannual conference, dedicated this year to exploring difficulties facing Jewish schools and forging solutions from a [...]

Organisations in the XXI Century*

Organisations in the XXI Century*

Twenty five years ago I came back to Europe (my grandparents escaped from the pogroms in Odessa), from Argentina, with my wife, and we settled down in Barcelona where we had two kids. In a way, I’m still a foreigner and due to my work for JDC, travelling across Europe, sometimes I have the opportunity to see certain situations through the eyes of a newcomer, in other words, through the [...]

Let´s share our passions with others

Let´s share our passions with others

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction” John F. Kennedy Here we go, there is a new term in town – ‘impact leadership’. Whilst you may decide to switch off from reading the rest of this piece on some more jargon, it did provoke some thought as to why there is a whole section in the December edition of Charity Times on putting impact leadership into practice. [...]

Jewish Education for Today´s Secular Age

Jewish Education for Today´s Secular Age

The vast majority of Jews in Europe—and in many non-European countries worldwide—are what demographers call Cultural Jews. This is not a value statement of any kind; it is merely a statistical fact. Most of these Jews do not practice Halacha most or even some of the time. That they are the majority in Israel, the U.S., and Europe, is a fact supported by every major demographic study since the year [...]

How would a European Pew survey look? ‎

How would a European Pew survey look? ‎

In 2013, the publication in the US of the Pew Survey, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” gave place to numerous and heated debates in the American Jewish world. Optimistic, pessimistic, alarmist and critical reactions succeeded one another in what was virtually the first nation-wide survey after the much-disputed National Jewish Population Survey of 2000-2001. Among its most salient findings, the survey showcased the existence of a non-negligible percentage of Jews [...]

Jewish Purpose for a Europe in Crisis

Jewish Purpose for a Europe in Crisis

Greece on the path to a 3rd painful rescue plan… Over 1,800 migrants dead trying to reach Europe in the first half of 2015 (UNHCR)… Populist Parties on an unprecedented rise, both on the far right and the far left… Over 23 million unemployed people in the EU (Eurostat, May 2015)… Over 6,000 dead since April 2014 in the Ukraine-Russia war over Donbass… “At the European level, (at least) 5,000 [...]

Why we need to work together and with others to combat anti-Semitism and hatred of all kinds

Why we need to work together and with others to combat anti-Semitism and hatred of all kinds

Why we need to work together and with others to combat anti-Semitism and hatred of all kinds The double-whammy attacks in Paris and Copenhagen earlier this year demonstrated that terrorism and anti-Semitism often go together. Jewish communities have been highlighting this reality for years with limited success, and the attacks in Toulouse and Brussels were not enough to drive this connection home for many Europeans. Now it is clear that [...]

The Prince and his Jews

The Prince and his Jews

Once upon a time (in fact last month) there was a prince of a little island kingdom (about 94 million square miles). He ruled (really he’s second in line to the throne and it’s a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government) justly, wisely and magnanimously. He was loved and respected by all (well almost all) of his subjects. He in turn loved and respected all of his subjects. In his [...]

Judaism in Europe is going through a difficult time

Judaism in Europe is going through a difficult time

Judaism in Europe is going through a difficult time and the economic downturn has undoubtedly had a decisive effect on this. Europe’s growth cannot compete with that of China, India, Russia, Brazil, or with any other already established economies such as the United States and Japan. This has led to the birth of populist and intransigent positions. One need not be reminded of Germany in the 1930s which was plunged [...]

Interpreting a Place: Is the City a Talmudic Book?

Interpreting a Place: Is the City a Talmudic Book?

Recently, I chanced upon a very interesting program about the power of consciousness. A Japanese scientist, Masaru Emoto, photographed the molecular structure of water in a bottle. He established the experiment with the water a few times, each time writing a few different words on the bottle: “I love you,” “I hate you,” “beauty.” The physical structure of the water profoundly changed with the different words: As the words “I [...]

No decision about me, without me

No decision about me, without me

  This core statement presented by Janet Leech, the Head of Learning Disabilities at Enfield Council in London at the conclusion of JCC Global’s Amitim– Fellows Special Needs Seminar captures the essence of a groundbreaking experience. Executive directors, senior staff members and volunteers from the Mazal Tov JCC in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, the Shore Front Y in New York and the Eilat Community Centers in Israel gathered in London to learn [...]

Prejudices and reality – a reflection about homosexuality in Judaism

Prejudices and reality – a reflection about homosexuality in Judaism

The dilemmas modern Judaism deals with are exciting and uncountable. These dilemmas call for a thorough study of the Jewish Sources and the Jewish jurisprudence, to try to discover how these could be understood nowadays, in times of permanent changes. Unfortunately, not all the leaders of Judaism are versed in facing the current dilemmas or have the courage to be able to innovate or to confess that they don’t know [...]

It´s not easy being green.

It´s not easy being green.

It’s not easy being green. Kermit said it. Van Morrison said it. Even Ray Charles said it. Now JCCs are saying it too, even if it’s not always easy. It’s not that easy being green Having to spend each day the color of the leaves When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow, or gold Or something much more colorful like that When “Bein’ Green” streams across [...]

Leaders, Individuals, and Kings

Leaders, Individuals, and Kings

There is little descriptive adequacy in terms which gloss and evaluate how individual minds work. Leadership, for the most part, is one of them. I worry about those that see leadership as a trait of an individual mind and not (if at all leadership is explicative of something) as a communal accomplishment organized in a specific set of circumstances (social, political, economic, etc.). Even after postmodern and or critical pirouettes [...]

Humility

Humility

“It really is of importance, not only what (wo)men do, but what manner of (wo)men it is, that do it” [John Stuart Miller – English Philosopher 1859] Let’s face it, other than when we are sitting alone in an exam room, can we ever legitimately claim that success is down to us personally? Each of us, working in the organisation form part of at least one team, and is dependent [...]

Happy 20th anniversary Leatid and Behatslaha!

Happy 20th anniversary Leatid and Behatslaha!

I loved working for Leatid Europe. I felt so lucky to have a job that I could feel so passionate about. I worked as the Leatid Coordinator between 1997 and 1999 and then become Associate Director from 2000 to 2006 and again, from 2010 to 2012. In that time I met and worked with over 1000 leaders of Jewish Communities – Lay leaders, professionals and Rabbis from all throughout Europe. [...]

Building a network of Jewish leaders

Building a network of Jewish leaders

I had been invited to attend a session of the Top leaders seminar in Venice in 1996. I attracted to this session my friends Richard Prasquier and Jean-François Guthmann. Not only did we enjoy the thought provoking training, the mix of Judaism, board management, data findings and forward thinking about our communities, we also were given a rare opportunity to meet with our counterparts from other European cities/countries, to realize [...]

Leatid is needed more than ever

Leatid is needed more than ever

Life constantly provides us with opportunities to learn and discover new things.  When we are leaders, lay or professional, we our enthusiastic and strive to do our best.  We often believe that our own business and life experiences are enough.  However, this is only partially true.  The real challenge lies in adding a new dimension to our knowledge. Like in every job, the best people, from doctors to scientists, from [...]

Leatid is an important tool for developing new European Jewish leaders

Leatid is an important tool for developing new European Jewish leaders

My five-year tenure as President of ECJC was an exciting period of my Jewish organizational life. They were years in which the concept of a Jewish Europe was becoming a reality with the involvement of the communities of the former Soviet Union. I had a great board and very close cooperation with the Joint, especially from Alberto Senderey, and new ideas and projects were flowing and being enacted:  The European [...]

Jewish Europe of the 21st century

Jewish Europe of the 21st century

I was happy to be involved with Leatid for about ten years and during that time hugely enjoyed the fellowship of the faculty who not only taught their own areas but enjoyed the interplay between the three fields of Community Development, Management Skills and Jewish Issues. Working with people who clearly cared about how all these worked together and saw each field as equally important held out the hope, realised [...]

Looking into the future

Looking into the future

Looking into the future (Leatid): Twenty years ago when it was founded, Leatid Europe, as part of JDC, together with ECJC, brought to the table the debates about how to build a Jewish Europe despite the many differences.  The discussions were about how to bridge the gap between communities in the east and the west and how to act regionally and also how to reach out to those unaffiliated. There was a [...]

A different future for the Jewish Communities of Europe

A different future for the Jewish Communities of Europe

Few projects in the Jewish World are closer to my heart than Leatid. Leatid, as it name indicates, was about imagining a different future for the Jewish Communities of Europe. Leatid was subversive, in the sense that it tried to change the way in which we understand Jewish Communities. It tried – and did – offer a radical new look at the challenges and dilemmas that Jewish Leaders face at the [...]

Leatid 20 years later

Leatid 20 years later

On a late summer day of September 1996, a group of 12 young European Jewish leaders in their late thirties & forties got together nearby Geneva, in a nice yet simple mansion belonging to ORT. They were writing a new chapter in the history of European Jewish life, as participants to the first session of the first Leaders XXI seminar, which, following an introductory Top leaders seminar a few months before, [...]

What makes Leatid special

What makes Leatid special

It is not an easy job to write a few words to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of LEATID after so many years have passed, probably 15, since I attended in Venice the special Leatid course for Jewish lay leaders( current and future that time). I am sure that my feelings today are similar to those of the 700 Leatid graduates because going back in time you are obliged to relive [...]