Change is afoot in the Jewish world. As we’ve written before, several of our global communal organizations are currently undergoing transition at the top. Several more will over the next twelve months. And the one trait in common to every single search appears to be the leadership vacuum.
We can approach this from several areas, but I would like to address one key missing ingredient – Vision.
It’s bad enough that most of the large players in our Jewish world have paid, at best, lip-service to really developing and training a new round of leadership, both professional and lay. Yes, there are some notable examples, including Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. And in their own way the various initiatives of the PresenTense Group, the ROI Community (as a part of CLI’s broader mandate) and a handful of small, mostly local, programs spread throughout North America. The leadership problem is already serious and as the economy turns around, and organizations rebuild, they will need to address the short-sighted decisions of laying off – among others – donor/constituent relations professionals. But, this is a story for another day.
My question now is, where are the visionary leaders who will guide our community through the next decade or so?
There are definitely individuals with experience and expertise in our community. Some, even have name recognition. But, can they inspire us? Can they see the unique role their specific organization can play in the world; can they articulate it? And most important, can they excite us?
The task is both difficult and critically important. It is also a challenge. Who out there can measure up to the task? (suggestions welcome)
Coming up: The Leadership Challenge at UJC and JAFI.