|November 9, 2012 / 24 Heshvan, 5773
Haftorah Hayye Sarah
I Kings 1:1-31
True Leadership: Knowing When To Step Aside
This week's Haftorah is the perfect opportunity to address a massive elephant in the room when it comes to re-imaging, re-structuring and re-invigorating our synagogues, Jewish institutions, and communities. Too often a lackluster, stagnating or even dying community is assumed to be the result of shifting demographics or blamed on the "Jews in the pews" and their resistance to change. But the truth is that sometimes we have to look up at the bimah, not just down into the pews, to see what’s happening. Every profession has a shelf life and that applies to our Jewish professionals and our clergy as well. If our Jewish leaders fail to recognize the time for retirement or moving on has come and fail to pass the mantel of leadership, how can the flock move forward? How can the Jewish people and their institutions flourish?
In this Haftorah, King David sees his time is coming to an end. He probably should have turned the reigns of leadership over years earlier, but nonetheless his succession plan is now in play. And in the related parsha, Abraham does the same. Seeing that his days are numbered, with foresight and courage he sets the stage for a patriarchal transition from father to son.
Of course it is not easy. It must have been painful for each of them to relinquish their control. But even the mighty Moshe had a professional shelf life and, when the time came, had to appoint a successor in Joshua and let the congregation move forward without him.
So often a visitor will approach me at the end of our Shabbat morning Synaplex extravaganza as the Ruakh Rally is winding down, and lament. "Rabbi, I wish we could do this at my shul. I know the congregation would love it. I know it would work." "So do it,” I always respond, "I’ll help you in any way I can." "Thank you, but our rabbi would never go for it, our cantor would never participate, or our Executive Director would never sign off," they share, time and again.
If we are not merely going to sing Am Yisrael Chai but live it then we need to start making some changes in our Jewish communities, in our synagogues and yes in our leadership as well. This does not mean change always begins with lopping off the heads of our leaders, firing our staff as if some "corporate reshuffling" is appropriate for our holy institutions and communities. It is to say, however, that just like King David, Abraham and Moses teach us through their example — true leadership means knowing when to stand up and lead and it also means knowing when to pass the baton and step aside making room for the next generation and change. In this way Am Yisrael Chai - the Jewish people will not only survive but we will thrive forever more.
This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi Baruch HaLevi. Rabbi HaLevi is co-author of the new book:
"Revolution of the Jewish Spirit:How to Revive Ruakh in Your Spiritual Life, Transform Your Synagogue & Inspire Your Jewish Community"[Paperback & Kindle] Rabbi Baruch HaLevi and Ellen Frankel, Jewish Lights Publishing (September 30, 2012)
Leadership - Innovation - Community
|Understanding the Haftarot:|
An Everyperson's Guide
In this stimulating and unusual book Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director of FJMC, provides the reader with the context to understand how the haftarot were organized, why they might have been selected and suggests reasons for finding meaning and value.
You can purchase it a number of ways.
Intermarriage: Concepts & Strategies for Families and Synagogue Leaders
If family members and community leaders wish to become engaged in the process of Keruv they often need to ask, "Does Keruv have an ideology and theology? And if so what is it?" Then they need to learn how to respond to intermarriage from the perspective of both gender and religion. This publication reflects the most current thinking about intermarriage to date and attempts to provide family members and community leaders with the needed understanding to effectively work with intermarrieds or potential intermarrieds.
You can purchase it a number of ways:
|It's time for Build-A-Pair
The best way to teach about tefillin!
The "Build a Pair" Program is a comprehensive and fun learning program to introduce 5th, 6th or 7th graders to the joy and mitzvah of Tefillin in Jewish life.
Multiple components interplay to explore the religious significance, the construction of, and the practice of "laying" Tefillin.
A comprehensive education program with videos helps the religious school teach students the meaning of Tefillin in Jewish life and practice.
Students practice writing their Hebrew/Jewish names and the SHEMA (first line) to insert into pre-made wooden Tefillin boxes.
Students decorate the boxes in any creative way they wish, allowing for personal expression.
Students either compete or cooperate in writing a "wRAP" song to sing at a Big Event.
The Big Event can be the World Wide Wrap (WWW), sponsored by the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (FJMC), held annually on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. The WWW program is designed to introduce and re-introduce Jewish men [and women] to the significance of "laying" Tefillin.
The "Build a Pair" student program attracts the parents to see their children in their model Tefillin sing the "wRap" songs, allowing two generations (or more!) to join in the mitzvah together, and to let the students' sing their "wRAP" song for an appreciative audience.
World Wide Wrap is Sunday, February 3, 2013
The Bar Mitzvah Wrap!
|Help the Unraveller begin our 4th year!|Sponsor the Unraveller now!
Contact FJMC Sponsorship Chairman Tom Sudow
for details and to reserve your week!