Pay-Cuts: Who Did and Who Didn’t

both from The Forward:

As Layoffs Mount, Which Jewish Executives Shared the Pain?

A tide of red ink is coursing through the hallways and balance sheets of Jewish charitable organizations, leaving slashed programs, reduced allocations and large staff layoffs in its wake. But in the current economic and financial meltdown, the suites of top executives have in many cases stood on high ground, beyond the reach of the crimson lapping below.

The Forward surveyed 21 of the largest and most prominent Jewish organizations that have implemented layoffs over the past year in response to the economic downturn. Of those, only nine top executives revealed that they had taken a reduction in their own pay, and only seven were willing to specify how much of a cut they had taken. Another 10 said that they have not taken a pay cut, and three others declined to reply.

CEOs Should Lead

In his new book on Jewish leadership, Rabbi David Teutsch reminds us that one of the most important aspects of leadership is serving as a role model. “You can say a great deal, but what you do is much more powerful than anything you can say,” he writes. “The synagogue whose president never attends services or adult education classes has a problem because that person is failing to model the values and behaviors he or she is supposed to exemplify.”

Words are of high importance in Jewish culture, but as Teustch notes, deeds are even more so. As Jewish organizations around the country grapple with a perfect storm of plunging endowments, reduced giving, increased need and, for many, Madoff-induced financial distress, there has been plenty of talk about efficiency, hardship and sacrifice.