Let’s Talk About Leadership

Between Us

This week’s parasha, Pinchas, describes the devastating news that Moses receives from God that he will not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. After all that he had done to lead the Israelites to freedom, to say nothing of taking the scenic route through the Sinai for 40 years! And how does Moses respond? With anger, despair, bitterness? Disappointment, perhaps, but none of the above. Instead, Moses thinks of appointing a successor.

Leadership is tested through adversity. A boat captain’s skill is proven not on a smooth pond but in the stormy ocean. Having received a blow to his pride and his dreams, Moses responds in a profound manner. He acknowledges his fate and thinks of his people. Fearing that they may become like “sheep that have no shepherd“, he begs God to appoint a new leader “who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall take them out and bring them in.”

“Bring them in” is what Federation seeks to do by creating a “big tent” that is open to all – regardless of denomination and affiliation. Unfortunately, that was not the message this past week by Israel’s Minister of Religious Services, David Azoulay. His intemperate remarks about Reform Jews not being “real Jews” were offensive and inappropriate, and were thankfully rejected by Prime Minster Netanyahu, who reminded him that Israel is the home for all Jews. We have much work to do in welcoming all who wish to be a part of the community, here and in Israel.

Many of us will be disappointed at not being able to complete all that we set out to do. It’s the nature of life. May we all learn from Moses to create our own “succession plans” for our families, businesses, organizations and synagogues, so that our personal – and our community’s – work may continue.


Ways to Make it Yours:

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