Transitions in N. America’s Jewish Leadership

The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) has released an analysis of the approaching transition in the professional leadership of major Jewish organizations in the United States. Prepared by Barry Rosenberg, the analysis serves as the basis of a chapter in JPPI’s 2012-2013 Annual Assessment. The piece discusses key issues in senior executive human resources in the Jewish community, and suggests concrete steps that Jewish organizations can take to meet the challenge of far-reaching leadership change.

from the Introduction:

  • Everything the Jewish people hope to achieve depends on the quality of the professionals and volunteers who serve our organizations and on senior leaders in particular. The ability to shape the internal dynamics of the Jewish people and influence the external ones relies on these individuals’ vision, passion, knowledge, skill and influence and on the quality and vitality of our institutions and communities. The continuous development of high quality leaders and human resources, in sufficient numbers, is fundamental and imperative for the continued thriving of the Jewish people. Leadership expert Frances Hesselbein said, “It’s not great strategies. It’s great people.”

    Without discounting the enormous achievements of the past and present; two critical questions concern the North American Jewish community, with critical implications for the global Jewish people. Will it successfully replenish an aging senior professional leadership corps, many of whom will soon retire? And, will their replacements, as well as new volunteer and informal leaders, possess the vision, passion and skill to reshape the American communal infrastructure to successfully adapt to changing realities and respond to external threats? These questions are embedded in larger and long-standing concerns about the overall quantity and quality of professionals and volunteers and the ability to engage young adult volunteers. Success will require an immediate program of executive development, implementation of best-practice human resource management, and thoughtful cultivation of Jewish influentials and informal leaders.

The complete text of Jewish Leadership in North America – Changes in Personnel and Structure is available here.