Introducing: JPLab: Jewish Professionals’ Laboratory

CoP networkBy Daniel Allen, Alan Engel, Lou Solomon and Peter Wells

Tradition teaches that Mishaneh Makom Mishaneh Mazal – if you change your place you change your luck. One of the clearest reflections among the more than 75 colleagues and lay leaders that responded to our call for a community of practice is the need to change our place.

For some this meant actually a different place to work. For most it meant a different head space, a different view of what it means to work within our community, a change in the respectability factor among colleagues of different ages and agencies as well as between lay leaders and professionals.

We acknowledge warmly that the responses were so genuine and numerous. We want to note that within the same time period Leading Edge produced a most interesting and important study on the Jewish work place. The report spoke of “attracting talented professional, devoting their skills and enabling them to do their best work” We share that view with the widest possible lens to include all those who work within the community and at all levels. There are many efforts focused on those in the “corner offices” or on their way there. We see our responsibility to engage this conversation with all colleagues. Our focus is on the broadest possible conversation about our profession and our collectivity.

Our colleague Stephen Donshik wrote on this subject a couple of years ago. He reminded us that according to Ernest Greenwood in 1957 “a profession is undergirded by a systematic theory, authority in the special area, community sanction, ethical codes and a culture.” Our hope is that this articulation will be among those for us to examine in our conversations about being a Jewish Professional.

After fully listening to the responses we have established a new face book group which we encourage you to join. It is called JPLab: Jewish Professionals’ Laboratory. Through the JPLab Facebook platform we will propose questions to chew on and we hope you will do the same. Our goal is to continue to facilitate a high level conversation on what it means and why we work with and for the Jewish people.

Daniel Allen, Alan Engel, Lou Solomon and Peter Wells all served as lay President of the Association of Jewish Communal Professionals ( AJCOP) and as CEO’s of Federations and national Jewish organizations.