Why Synagogues Need a Checklist Manifesto

I am not a doctor, and I don’t play one on TV, but that does not stop me from loving everything that Dr. Atul Gawande writes about medicine.   In particular, I love Gawande’s book The Checklist Manifesto, which captures how people can “get the stupid stuff right” in a world of increasing complications and complexity.   Today, eJewishPhilanthropy published an article I wrote about why synagogues need their own “Checklist Manifesto,” which you can read by clicking on this link.

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Synagogues Are More Than Spreadsheets

Sacred institutions do sacred work, yet oftentimes the hustle and bustle of leading a synagogue or Jewish organization keeps us from remembering that our institutions are far more than the sum of all the things that we need to manage.  Yesterday, The Times of Israel published a post I wrote on Tu B’Shevat and naming the power of our sacred work, which you can read by clicking on this link.

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The Best of the Year 2016: eJewishPhilanthropy

Today, I was honored to find out that my article “Will Your Synagogue Be a Club or a Cause?” was identified as one of the top ten articles on eJewishPhilanthropy for 2016.   If you are interested in rereading this piece, click on this link.

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Fools for Judaism

Just as we are commanded to publicize the miracle of Hanukkah by placing the Hanukkah lights in our windows, Jewish institutions must gain greater comfort at trumpeting their visions in a world where fewer and fewer Jews speak Judaism as a first language. Today, The Times of Israel published a post I wrote on what it means to be a “fool for Judaism” this Hanukkah, which you can read by clicking on this link.  Hag Urim Sameah!

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Can Synagogues Develop a Playbook to Survive Disruption?

Conversations about the future of synagogues tend to focus on content, while largely relegating questions of structure to second-tier status.   I propose that we pause and consider the possibility that synagogues are facing disruptive technologies that will affect their future in the same way that disruptive technologies affect many other marketplaces around North America.   Today, eJewishPhilanthropy published an article I wrote applying the theory of disruptive innovation to synagogue change, which you can read by clicking on this link.

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Unetaneh Tokef and Courageous Vulnerability

As Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur rapidly approach on the Jewish calendar, it is important that we take time to ask ourselves what these holidays teach us about what we gain by exposing our true selves as leaders.   Today, The Times of Israel published my latest blog post on Unetaneh Tokef and the power of vulnerability, which you can read by clicking on this link.

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Looking at Zion

Few things hurt the Jewish people more than our current inability to have an honest and civil conversation about Israel.   To change the conditions of the conversation, Israeli editor Yinon Royhman created Looking at Zion, an online forum where Jews around the world can share their honest thoughts about Israel.  I was honored to be interviewed for this project, and you can read my responses by clicking on this link.

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Institutions Are Not Holy

Jewish institutions are my life and my livelihood.   However, I consider it essential for Jewish leaders to remember that our mission and vision are far more important and holy than any given institutional structure.   Today, I published my latest piece in The Times of Israel about what Tisha B’Av can teach about the courage to name failure and align ourselves with God’s mission, which you can read by clicking on this link.

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Will Your Synagogue Be a Club or a Cause?

The synagogue of the twentieth-century was designed to be a club, a place where membership itself was a form of participation. But at a time when all membership organizations face dwindling numbers, a thriving synagogue in the twenty-first century must be a cause, a place where people invest their time, energy and money because the purpose and mission of that synagogue compels them to engage.   Today, eJewishPhilanthropy published an article I wrote about what it means for a synagogue to be a cause, which you can read by clicking on this link.

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Community, Covenant and Polarity Management

When trying to solve a painful and difficult challenge, leaders must developing a genuine sensitivity to diametrically opposing views so that they might develop the capacity to navigate a seemingly intractable problem, what Barry Johnson calls “polarity management.” This week, I published a blog post on The Times of Israel about Shavuot and whether or not the Jewish Community is capable of managing polarities together, particularly regarding intermarriage.   You can read the article by clicking on this link, and read a quote I gave to The Jewish Week about the challenges of working with interfaith families by clicking on this link.

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