Leaders Lead

By Daniel Allen, Alan Engel, Lou Solomon and Peter Wells

Leaders lead. The latest, but not necessarily, the only positive example of Jewish communal leadership is the decision by the Jewish Community Centers Association to engage a seasoned, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and successful Jewish communal professional to join them as the professional leader and CEO.

Doron Krakow’s appointment sends a message, perhaps even a tipping point. Several organizations of late have appointed individuals that are skilled and well thought in their own fields of work but lack serious credentials as Jewish communal professionals. We have seen this in several federations. Many of these individuals have not been successful in their new roles. We witness this in several national Jewish organizations where the ability to move the organizations agenda forward seems lacking.

It is our view that one of the key ingredients for a successful senior hire in Jewish communal organizations is a commitment to the collective community not only the organization that is being served. In Doron Krakow the JCCA is accenting to just such a credential.

While we do not know all the members of the JCCA search committee and executive we know or are acquainted with many of those that served. It is our observation that one common experience among them was being a member of the UJA young leadership cabinet or a Wexner leadership programs. Both programs, the brainchildren of Rabbi Herb Friedman, z”l, are marked by a deep and central commitment to the collective good of the Jewish people.

The United Jewish Appeal was the shared fundraising organization of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the United Israel Appeal (UIA). UJA was the fundraising organization around which American Jews expressed their passion for the re-creation of the Jewish State of Israel and the wellbeing of Jews beyond our borders. It raised billions of dollars for the work of the JDC and UIA/Jewish Agency. At its core was the understanding that We Are One. The young leadership cabinets were one of the centers of the passion for the collective that UJA fostered within American Jewry. Since the emergence of the United Jewish Communities/Jewish Federations of North America much of that passion has dissipated.

The Wexner Foundation’s leadership programs share the same passion and view of collective responsibility for the Jewish people. These programs instilled in so many the recognition that trained and seasoned professionals and volunteer leadership understand their respective roles. It is this mutual respect and sense of shared responsibilities which can lead to success that we sense in the actions of the JCCA in engaging Doron Krakow.

We say a collective Mazal Tov and hearty Yasher Koach to the lay leadership of the JCCA. May many more Jewish organizations and institutions follow their example of championing the need for experienced Jewish communal professionals joining seasoned lay leaders as partners in leadership.

And Mazal Tov to our colleague Doron Krakow.

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.