MARC KRAMER: It has been said that an organization’s budget is a portrait of its values expressed in dollars and cents. What, then, do human resource policies portray about the values of a nonprofit?
Daniel Sokatch: As ironic as it may seem, given the freewheeling nature of the American Jewish communal debate, our culture of cautious self-censorship is pervasive — and detrimental. Usually, but not always, the self-censoring takes place in conversations about Israel.
Joshua Avedon: I don’t believe that every morning at my office should begin with Torah study. But I do believe it’s possible to create an organization that takes Jewish values and learning seriously — both in word and deed: Not by grafting on Jewish thinking as an afterthought, but rather, having it serve as a guiding principle; an organization that adopts governance policies that reflect and are framed Jewishly; an organization that lives those values in strategic and operational decisions — even when the process creates tension with expediency or efficiency.
My daughter has worked at a Jewish day school for the past six years. When she became pregnant last year, she was told that the school didn’t cover maternity leave, but she could purchase disability insurance that would cover about 60 percent of her salary for the time she was off work. Since when is
Shifra Bronznick and Joanna Samuels What are the decisive indicators of progress? That’s an important question for people who care deeply about social change — especially about advancing gender equity and shared leadership. For a long time, we felt confident that because of the large numbers of accomplished women staffing the communal sector, inevitably the
1. Do Jewish values inform workplace policies in Jewish communal institutions? How so?
2. Does the Jewish workplace — from day schools to federations to synagogues — provide working conditions that support young families? Are professionals appropriately compensated? Are lay leaders appropriately acknowledged?
3. Is the Jewish communal infrastructure creating avenues for the best Jewish talent and creativity?
4. Have difficult conversations about Israel been stifled in the Jewish community? How are we attempting to create an environment of trust and openness that is conducive to civil conversations of difference?
5. Jews talk about bringing passion to the workplace. How do we keep it ignited?
“Sing, you barren woman who has not borne; burst out into song and jubilate, you who have not experienced birth pangs, for the children of the desolate one are more than the children of the married woman, says the Lord.” — Isaiah 54:1 Exhilarating, intense, passionate, euphoric, transformative. These are the words of the innovation
Ethan Felson: We enjoy a rich pluralistic tradition of argumentation and debate within the Jewish community. But while we thrive on this vocal pursuit, we are now witnessing the emergence of a new partisanship. It is buoyed by the belief, sometimes grounded in reality, but often clouded by fantasy, that every decision made, every speaker heard, every word of every resolution will have a profound impact on world events.
Robert J. Saferstein I stared across the table, awaiting a response. It would be a few moments before he spoke. When he did, all he said was, “Wow. I had no idea you were so Jewish.” So Jewish. The words stung. “Too Jewish” is what he meant. But what does that mean? The exchange happened