Posted on September 11th, 2013

From the President: Beginnings

I sincerely hope 5774 is off to a good and sweet start for everyone! For those who have opened schools and begun programs for a new year, I hope the beginnings were meaningful and smooth.

I recently read an anonymous quote that I shared on the August board webinar, “In beginnings, worlds are created.” As I think about my own beginning as president of ARJE I am particularly struck by the power and potential of this quote. It is an important reminder of the great potential that  exists in beginnings, and also of the weight of that potential. One of the important ways to fulfill potential is through study.

Over the last year and under the leadership of then president, Lisa Lieberman Barzilai, our ARJE leaders committed to learning together. Our executive committee read the book Forces for Good, by Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant and our Lead Team read American Grace, by  Robert Putnam and David Campbell. Our Operations and Board leaders read chapter 11 of The Networked Nonprofit, by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine. Each book challenged us to think differently about the Jewish community, how we define community and how we grow as a community. The deep and rich conversations around each chapter challenged our work as ARJE leaders and our professional roles.

To continue our studies, this year our Lead Team is reading Relational Judaism, by Dr. Ron Wolfson and our Executive Committee is reading To Sell is Human, by Daniel Pink. We continue to think deeply about the essence of our community and how we tell our story in order to more engage others in our work and in support of our work.

I encourage you to consider these provocative reads to enhance your own professional growth and to share with us your thoughts on how they relate to our work as Jewish educational leaders and how they might enhance our association.