A Contrarian Perspective

Richard Marker, a renaissance man both within and outside of the Jewish communal world, recently spoke with a group of current students and alumni of the NYU Wagner/Skirball Program in Nonprofit Management (MPA) and Judaic Studies (MA). Basing his talk on an article that he had written several years prior entitled “The Personnel Crisis in Jewish Life – A Contrarian Perspective“, Marker provided a refreshing take on the way we think about our work. He encouraged us to think of the various sectors as porous, affording us opportunities to move in and out as we make our way through our careers. He pushed us to innovate and shake things up, even in a highly structured setting. Rather than advocating for a life-long, uninterrupted dedication to Jewish communal work, he encouraged us to find opportunities that interest and excite us and to develop our sense of identity based on the many things we love, not just on how we choose to make a living.

So often we hear the same ideas repeated over and over, but now, thanks to Marker’s insightful and honest advice, the old messages about Jewish communal work have an exciting new dimension.

Wendy Paler is a second year student in NYU’s Wagner / Skirball program.