Principles for the Future

Over the past few weeks, I have been reading predictions for 2022—forecasts of new words, foods, colors, global developments, fears, and more. I typically find these predictions enjoyable, though they say very little about the future. (In fact, one researcher found that most experts are about as good at predicting the future as a dart-throwing chimpanzee.) I believe, though, that there are constants we can rely on even within a high VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world. As I mentioned last week, we saw this in 2021 while collectively and successfully strengthening our connections and building a strong community.

That’s why Federation remains focused on the strategies and core principles that will guide us through unpredictable, evolving challenges and opportunities. These have been central to our work to date and will continue to drive our approach going forward. We commit to:

  • Asking meaningful questions: The ability to innovate and problem-solve stems from asking important questions. The resulting conversations lead to mutual respect, curiosity, ongoing learning, and the pursuit of excellence to make an impact.
  • Listening to multiple voices: By bringing together diverse voices—especially those with differing perspectives—and sincerely listening to them without making assumptions or judgements, we continue to work towards a community in which all members feel a sense of belonging.
  • Recognizing our limitations: No single organization can address communal challenges and opportunities alone. We live within a complicated ecosystem and must collectively identify and collaboratively address the most critical issues we face as a Jewish community to turn ideas into effective action.
  • Stewarding resources effectively: Even when it requires making difficult decisions, we must carefully manage and mobilize communal resources to take on evolving needs and to elevate our most critical communal issues for discourse and action.
  • Keeping our vision for a vibrant Jewish community always top of mind: Jewish life and community enhance, add meaning to, and invigorate our lives. It ties us to a deep tradition and can shape our future path. We must take the time to connect to our broader purpose, and never lose sight of celebrating and savoring the vibrancy of Jewish life in this community.

We can’t predict the future, but with these principles in mind, we can move forward with purpose. We can remain nimble in our work, build on core initiatives, and, together, recommit ourselves to creating a vibrant Jewish future for Greater Washington.

I look forward to continuing this meaningful work as a community this new year. As always, I welcome your thoughts and ideas on any or all of the themes above.

Shabbat Shalom,

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