Creating an Expectation of Excellence

from The Jewish Week:

Filling The Leadership Void: A Proposal

A 2009 study by the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies predicts that during the next decade 65 percent of mid-and upper-level management of Jewish organizations will retire and their replacements will increasingly be non-Jewish. That’s quite a radical concept to those of us who believe in the “soul” of our organizations.

When you read the “36 Under 36” insert in The Jewish Week, or other inspiring stories of promising and committed young talent, you feel inspired and convinced that there is nothing to worry about. But if the Bronfman study is correct, there is a tremendous gap between the pool of people that show interest and potential to lead in the Jewish community and the pool of people that will lead Jewish organizations.

One practical problem is that when an organization invests in someone promising, another one with deeper pockets poaches that person, according to the Bronfman study. To bridge the gap, some kind of outside intervention is needed.

… The Jewish world needs to move its game to a new level. We need to invest in future leaders at a life-transformative moment, sensitize them to Jewish issues and show them that we care enough about our institutions to make them worth leading – and to create an expectation of excellence that reflects the capstone of Jewish achievement after all these centuries of development.