The following blog first appeared Friday, February 16, as an email update from Keith Krivitzky, CEO, the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey.
Dear friends and colleagues,
I was at a Federation executives institute earlier this week and two dynamics stand out.
One is the significant demographic shifts happening in the Jewish community - and with this I would include the identity uncertainty characterizing the Jewish community today. Take a look at the articles on two community studies below; believe it or not, other than politics, we are probably closer to San Francisco in terms of trends in the Jewish community. And this means our approach and expectations need to shift accordingly.
The other dynamic has to do with vision - what does "success" look like as a Jewish community, and what would inspire someone to be a part of this community? I think this is a vitally important question that we haven't put enough into answering. We will have a hard time addressing those challenges in the first question unless we do.
At our institute we had a session with Zingtrain, the training business of Zingermans Deli in Michigan. It was fascinating and something I want to do more, and bring more of here. Some brief highlights... A mission, basically a person's or an organization's mission should be timeless. But a vision paints a picture of where you are going and what you want to achieve in more real time, as in a present time frame. It tells a story of how things could be in a future reality that others can relate to...that draws them in and encourages them to buy-in. It includes goals and something to aim for. A vision showcases a "preferred future" and highlights what success can look like. More specifically, it provides a picture of success at a certain point in time with enough rich detail that everyone knows when we've gotten there. And it has to be both strategically sound and inspiring.
But the question is...have we seen that lately in our Jewish community? When did we last have a compelling vision that we could buy into? That inspires us? That's what we need to find and embody more of. And it can't just be the province of a few or an extension of the past. If we wish to address some of those demographic dynamics we see more and more, it's going to have to come from looking ahead rather than bemoaning what was.
With that, some weekend reads:
• From my colleague…more great clergy follow up: jewishheartnj.org/blog/im-israeli-and-i-never-saw-israel-like-this
• One of my faves in Jerusalem: www.timesofisrael.com/a-chef-dishes-on-gourmet-cooking-in-jerusalems-provincial-dining-scene
• I have gotten this a lot, and while part is environmental these days, this could help: www.zingtrain.com/content/stop-firefighting-start-strategizing
• San Francisco:
• And possible consequences: https://forward.com/opinion/394094/young-jews-are-actually-winning-the-generational-war-over-israel/
And best for a Shabbat Shalom.
Also note no Leaders Update next week. Back in two weeks.