Nov 29, 2012
Dan Hotchkiss: "Putting staff in charge without losing volunteer commitment"
Dan Hotchkiss: "Putting staff in charge without losing volunteer commitment"
Boards that try to delegate authority to staff often worry that volunteers will lose commitment. It's a realistic concern: volunteers who handled large responsibilities under the board do sometimes decide, when the board passes the management baton to the head of staff, that they are no longer needed.
This used to surprise me. Why would restructuring the flow of authority cause energy to disappear? Why are volunteers who take high-level responsibility under the board respond to the board's delegation of authority to the head of staff by taking a vacation? I'm no longer surprised, because I've found that maintaining volunteer commitment while moving management from board to staff is pretty much a universal challenge.
The solution, luckily, turns out to be fairly simple: the staff needs to learn to ask people to take big responsibilities as volunteers. For some reason, there's often a mental block against the head of staff (or a department head) saying to a proven volunteer:
Here is an area of work I'd like you to take charge of. Would you consider serving for a two-year term as Director of ________. You would not be paid, but you and I would set goals and meet on a regular basis, and you would be included in staff meetings as appropriate. I think of this as the equivalent of a quarter-time job. It is a lot to ask, but I am asking you, and I hope you will say yes."
In larger congregations and nonprofits, staff leaders often have such conversations. Sometimes the volunteers say no, and sometimes they say yes. People have always taken big responsibilities as volunteers. There's no reason they should stop because the board decides to get out of management so it can concentrate on governing.
November 29th, 1947
How Does Hashem Make People?
Nov 28, 2012
I encourage my rabbinic colleagues to sign on to end tax cuts for the top 2%
Nov 26, 2012
Amud Anan Update from the Hannaton Educational Center
Powerful new Jewish music from Rabbi David Paskin, available for pre-order and shipping on Friday!
Nov 20, 2012
Tears and Hope
(C) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
with deep gratitude to the children and teachers of the Oakland Hebrew Day School
looking to me for reassurance
when I have
none to offer.
and share my hopes for peace
and a memory of being
right where they were
when I was their age,
hoping for their safety,
wondering what I'm doing
so far from home.
my defenses crumble
And my family hasn't yet known peace.
only makes me
Nov 19, 2012
The East Bay Stands with Israel - Tues, Nov 20 - 7:30pm
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Jewish Federation of the East Bay
Berkeley Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Bravo to Daniel Gordis in Tebletmag.com: "As rockets rain down on Israel, an Atlanta JCC bans Peter Beinart. When did we become so narrow-minded?"
...The American Jewish community is the most secure diaspora community the Jews have ever known. Economically, socially, politically, culturally—we have made it, and what we say and model is watched by countless others. Yet New York Times readers this week can only conclude that in the midst of that security and comfort, we’ve utterly abandoned the intellectual curiosity that has long been Judaism’s hallmark." -- read the article at http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/116853/u-s-jews-fighting-wrong-battle
Nov 18, 2012
A Reflection on Nathan Englander's "Sister Hills" (from "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank")
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Much swirled through my soul as I read Nathan Englander's latest book, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank," especially the second story in the book, "Sister Hils." No summary suffices, and plot-spoilers would be a crime. But this is what I feel, upon encountering Englander's masterful narrative: What are the definitions and limits of Jewish obligation? (continue reading here....)
Rabbi Mauricio Balter: War diary entry number 2, from Be'er Sheva
Rabbi Mauricio Balter, Congregation Eshel Avraham
I would like to share with you the experience of Shabbat. In our community, we decided to announce that the synagogue would be open for prayers and that I would be there.
The idea was not to invite or encourage people to get out of the house when we are in war. I would remind you that it is the moments of moving from place to place that are the most dangerous. Because when the sirens go off, you have to quickly find cover, which isn't always easy. In these circumstances, leaving the house is everyone's independent decision.
Yesterday, at 5PM I opened the synagogue (prayers start at 5:30). At 5:15 there was a siren. Many people who had been on their way to shul turned and went back home. In the end, we were nine people who prayed together and went home.
The night passed with tense quiet and no sirens. That is, until 7AM this morning when I got a glimpse of how the rest of the day would look.
We started prayers with three people and I thought, again we won't get a minyan. In the end, more people came and we ended up with a group of 15. During the time of Torah study, at 10AM, there was another siren. We moved quickly and quietly to the shelter (please G-d we'll be getting our new shelters in ten days). I asked the people there to tell stories of how they have been dealing with the sirens of the previous days. One of the women told of an argument she had with her mother about the possibility of going to Tel Aviv for the day on Thursay. She said, "In Tel Aviv, we can have some peace and quiet." But on that day, at 6:30PM, when they were in the middle of an art workshop, there was a siren in Tel Aviv, too.
Others told stories as well. In the end, I told my story of what happened on Thursday, when I returned from visiting my mother who is in a rehabilitation hospital. A siren sounded right when I stood at an intersection between two main roads in Beer Sheva. Following instructions, I immediately began looking for cover. I looked at the four corners of the intersection: On on corner there are two petrol stations (not a recommended place to find cover), on the second corner they are building a mall, on the third is a playground and sports equipment, and on the fourth, very far away with a high fence, was a building. What to do??? Where to run to????
The sound of the siren is piercing, and I realize that I must find cover. But there is none to be found! Suddenly I see a huge truck stop at the intersection. The driver gets out, stands between the wheels, and calls me to stand next to him to take cover. He says to me, "It's better here than outside!" I look at him and thank him. After a few seconds, I say, "What's your name?" He smiles and says, "Pinni". I say, "My name is Mauricio". I figure, in case something happens, I should know who my new friend is.
This is how we live. We are friends in our shared destiny and try to protect one another. We are not a perfect nation and there is a lot to fix. but we are definitely a nation with solidarity, and the mutual help is felt every day anew. It finds expression in many little things that we are experiencing these days.
Pinni, the truck driver who invited me to take cover next to him, is our neighbor. Yesterday, when he saw that my daughter Maya is in advanced stages of pregnancy, he went and brought her challah for Shabbat. Hundreds (I am not exaggerating) of telephone calls and emails from people around the country calling and offering to host people for a few days, people who they don't know, to find some rest from the tensions, they are all a source of tremendous pride for me, to be part of this nation and this country.
Today there is another source of worry: Reservists received their "tzav 8" orders. It's a very small country and the army is the nation itself. Neighbors, friends, acquaintances. On their behalf: Go safely and return home safely!
May the One who makes peace in the heavens bring peace to us and to all of Israel and the entire world, and say Amen.
עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל כָּל
יוֹשְׁבֵי תֵּבֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן:
Rabbi Mauricio Balter,
Congregation Eshel Avraham,
Beer Sheva, Israel
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