Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Educating Our Current and Future Leaders

by guest blogger Sam Backer, CBT President

A significant benefit of Congregation B’nai Tzedek’s membership in the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is that we have access to information, people and resources from the governing body of the Reform movement.  We have low and no-cost opportunities to participate in various programs that enable our professional staff, Board and other lay leaders to learn and grow as they serve the congregation.  All we have to do is ask for help.  We did that and this month the current Board as well as incoming trustees will be participating in an on-site workshop.  A URJ facilitator will travel to CBT – at no cost to us – to help the Board work to further define goals and leadership responsibilities.  It’s a win-win for the Board and the congregation.

Sometimes the request for help comes from the URJ when it reaches out to its member congregations.  It did so recently when it asked for congregations to apply to participate in an Emerging Leaders Pilot Initiative.  Of the 900 congregations in the movement, 200 applied including CBT.  We were one of 21 congregations selected to participate.  This is a great honor for us!

The Emerging Leaders Initiative is a collection of stand-alone modules created by the URJ that will introduce a full range of topics and skills important to leadership and decision-making in a synagogue community.  Topics include visioning and creating a mission; general leadership skills; synagogue governance; personal leadership styles; and our own congregational community.  The specific modules we will pilot will be assigned this month by the URJ.  We seek to create a new cadre of leaders with the interest and potential to take CBT into the future.

We will meet once a month for about two hours per session beginning in June.  There will be four or five sessions.  Since we are piloting this program, the URJ has asked that every participant complete a survey about this program by November so they can make adjustments for the success of future participants.

Several congregants have been invited formally to participate in this program because they specifically have expressed interest in being part of CBT’s leadership or they have been identified as good candidates to be future leaders of our congregation.  However, the opportunity to participate is open to all members of CBT.  If you are interested in taking advantage of this program, be sure to email Rabbi Young at rabbiyoung@cbtfv.org.  Space is limited so be sure to get your name in for consideration as soon as possible.

From the Board workshop this month to the Emerging Leaders Initiative Pilot starting in June, we are fortunate to have such incredible learning opportunities offered by the URJ.  I look forward to further growth by our current leaders and to cultivating and working with those who will lead CBT into the future.