Israel’s Channel 10 is reporting that late Thursday evening, November 16, the Israel Defense Force was able to eliminate an additional four members of Gaza’s senior terrorist leadership in a targeted strike.Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Posts Tagged ‘leadership’
The theme of my column is leadership. As a general rule I avoid extrapolating leadership lessons from current events. The following is my reasoning. First, the information available from current events is often incomplete and inaccurate. Even when the information is relatively complete and accurate it is unanalyzed. Therefore the basis for lessons learned may prove to be faulty. Second, current events are often too current. To attempt to draw practical lessons in a dispassionate way would be insensitive. At least a minimal amount of time is needed to create the space necessary to allow for such an article. I have relied on the publication of books and scholarly articles on a particular recent event as an indicator that an appropriate amount of time has passed, thus allowing me to write a leadership article about it.
Like any good rule, however, there need to be exceptions. The all too recent hurricane that shattered an untold number of lives is such an exception. I thank Hakadosh Baruch Hu that my family was spared during this storm, but many of my colleagues, students, and friends suffered from its power and continue to suffer in its aftermath. From them I heard stories of hope and chesed that are unbelievable. I also learned from them a more nuanced definition of leadership.
We read in this week’s Parsha how important a bracha is. Even Esav, the rough and tough warrior and hunter, cries uncontrollably because he missed getting blessed by his father Yitzchak. It makes us stop and wonder what it was that made Esav so upset. It certainly was not his losing out on the spiritual aspect of the blessing. One also wonders if he was upset at losing out at the material aspect – after all, he received a material blessing from Yitzchak and it is clear that his descendants have done materialistically well for themselves.
So what was Esav upset about? That he lost out on the encouraging good words from his father. He missed out on the emotional laden blessing that could have served as Esav’s lodestar throughout his life. It could have served as a source of strength and hope when things were not so good, and a moral compass for when things were going well. Fortunately for us, the children of Yisrael, our forefather Yaakov received this blessing and we benefit from what the descendants of Esav missed out on.
We see from here how important a simple string of words can be.
Leaders often focus on the big vision and the mega-decisions, but the primary role of leadership is to give hope and guidance to one’s followers and organizations. In this regard everyone who helps another person get through a day is a leader.
One of my friends who has suffered tremendously from the storm told me the following story.
On the Sunday following the storm, she was surveying the extensive damage to her house. She had just thrown out all her ruined sefarim, books, and furniture. Looking at her damaged home, wondering how long she and her family would remain nomads, how she was going to rebuild, and where she would find the moral energy to move forward, she became totally overwhelmed. Although she had been strong during and after the storm, she had finally reached her breaking point. Then suddenly out of the blue, at 1:20 p.m., she received a random text from a friend saying how inspired she was by her, because despite everything she was experiencing, her thoughts and prayers were about other people! This text, my friend told me, gave her and her husband the boost they needed. Her message to me was simple: while victims of the hurricane need lots of help in so many ways, people should not underestimate the power of a thoughtful word and a sympathetic ear, in addition to an outstretched helping hand.Rabbi David Hertzberg
As the dust settles and the fog lifts from this tumultuous year of political campaigning, we are left to wonder how our country will evolve. Will the economy bounce back? Will our schools make progress? And how about U.S. relations with Israel? Will they grow weaker or stronger? Will the administration support an Israeli strike on Iran?
No one truly knows. Perhaps this explains the gripping fascination we had with the just-concluded campaign. The intensity of emotions was palpable. The explosive passion for one candidate or the other inundated the streets of our country. Tens of millions were glued to the presidential debates and media coverage of the campaign drew an impressive number of viewers, listeners and readers.
The question, of course, is why? Why were the boisterous noises of this election campaign so dominating? Why were we magnetized by the daily polls, the gaffes and the statistics? Why did we so often give in to our relentless urge to report about the political news of the day on Facebook, Twitter and other social arenas?
Some observers say it was the appeal to vote and make a difference that drew our attention so fiercely. Others say we were lured by the appearance and personality of the candidates, by the characteristics they exuded and which we strongly empathized with or profoundly desired –integrity, intelligence, charisma, etc.
I suggest an alternative take on this phenomenon: It was our yearning for leadership that drew us to the candidates and their respective parties. And understandably so; after all, our generation has repeatedly suffered from leaders – in politics, in sports, in culture and in many other realms of our lives – who fell so low shortly after climbing so high.
Thus, as we followed the candidates’ every move, as we listened to their every promise, as we acted on their every call, we hoped and prayed that authentic leadership could be restored, that people of merit would once again become leaders of spirit.
But our search for this leader ought not to focus solely on the outside. For this optimal leader exists deep within the chambers of our souls. And day after day he hankers to emerge and fulfill his high calling and noble potential to live a life of divine meaning, a life empowered by our heritage and traditions, a life bolstered by deeds of goodness and kindness.
“Behold, the days are coming,” the prophet Amos proclaimed, “when I will send a famine on the land – not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of God” (Amos 8:11).
It is the word of God, emanating from our inner quintessential leader, that we must seek out and realize.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of Great Britain, tells the story of how as a young student of philosophy at Cambridge University he traveled the world to visit great leaders. When he met with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe asked him about the condition of Jewish students at Cambridge, and what he was doing to help them.
“In the situation I currently find myself,” Rabbi Sacks began to respond, whereupon the Rebbe interrupted him and said: “No one finds themselves in a situation. You put yourself in a situation, and if you put yourself in that situation, you can put yourself in another situation!”
Obviously there are times when we find ourselves in situations that are beyond our control. But at almost every given moment we are presented with the opportunity of putting ourselves in a situation of leadership wherein we are called on to heed the voice of our inner leader and become agents of light to the world around us.
The 2012 presidential campaign is now over. Whether its outcome is good or bad for our country, time will tell.
But there exists a campaign, beyond the limits of time and space, that will never end. The candidate in this campaign may not be glamorous or flamboyant, but he is ambitious and determined to unleash his unique potential and actualize his God-given skills and talents. This candidate is campaigning for a life term. He refuses to rest or resign. He begs us, each and every day, to give him a chance, to allow him to act, to let him speak, to permit him to be. He passionately yearns for your attention, and more important, for your support.Rabbi Pinchas Allouche
One of the hottest topics across all spectrums in the Jewish community is the financial sustainability of Jewish day school education in America. Schools have invested a lot of time and resources to train their professionals in the art of fundraising, developing donor relationships, and launching effective capital campaigns. And there has been a concerted effort among Jewish educational organizations to establish programs to assist day schools in improving their governance and developmental practices.
In early 2011, the AVI CHAI Foundation, along with local foundations and federations in various Jewish communities, provided support to Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership (YUSP) to launch a broad-based program to improve growth and performance. The goal of the program was to collect data from a pool of approximately 35 schools and then use that data as a comparative benchmarking tool to identify opportunities for revenue enhancements and expense reductions at a minimum of 10 percent of their respective budgets. Collectively these schools have a budget of $225 million, so a 10 percent improvement translates to $22.5 million.
In addition, Torah Umesorah is scheduled to begin a training program to educate yeshiva day school executives in effective leadership and management skills, including an emphasis on board development and fundraising.
And the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) recently announced the launch of MATCH, for the fourth time since 2004. This program, which went into effect on August 1, is designed to strengthen Jewish day schools by broadening the community of donors. To accomplish this, the program provides first-time donors the opportunity to leverage a donation of $10,000 or more at a matching rate of 50 cents to the dollar, up to $50,000.
These approaches are highly innovative and have the potential to be successful and helpful to many schools. However, programs that focus on fundraising and development can only be effective if there are no cracks in the school’s administrative foundation. A ship can only set sail once there are no leaks in its hull; otherwise it will not get very far.
I know of a school that found itself in dispute with local storekeepers for thousands of dollars in merchandise. There was general confusion concerning what was purchased and what was owed. As is the case with many schools, principals and teachers would purchase goods on credit, often forgetting to submit the bill to the finance office. At other times, the stores would mail the invoice to the finance office, which was unaware a purchase had been made. The invoices would not be paid right away so the store would then fax in the invoice. Over time, no one knew what was ordered, what was actually received, or what was paid. Sometimes the same invoice would be paid twice, even three times.
All this could have been avoided had some simple and easy internal controls been in place. Ultimately, that is exactly what the school did. First, it authorized one person to do all the purchasing of goods and services for the school and put a strict ban on all staff from making any purchases on credit. A letter was then sent to local stores informing them of this new policy. Storeowners were warned that if they accepted a purchase on credit from anyone other than the school’s authorized purchaser, they would be sent a tax receipt for the “donation.” Faxes would no longer be accepted either. Payments would only be made from the original invoice.
A requisition form was also introduced for all purchases of goods and services. Approval from the executive director was required before any purchase was made. When goods arrived at the school, they were counted and matched to both the invoice and the approved purchase requisition form. The school’s administrators were surprised to see how many times the quantity of items stated on the invoice was greater than what was actually received. A lot of money was saved by catching these errors. Even the shopkeepers were happy when they started getting paid on time.
To be clear, there are a great number of schools that do operate at a very high level of competency. Their administrations take seriously their fiduciary duty to parents and donors to operate their schools in the most professional and financially efficient manner. They have their finance offices humming along like well-oiled machines and their lay leadership is to be commended. For these schools, the YUSP benchmarking and strategic planning program, as well as other pioneering programs, would not only work but could ensure their viability and sustainability for decades to come.Jake Goldstein
Fatah leaders were quick to declare victory in the October 20 local elections in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -Ed.]. But the results of the vote for 93 municipal and village councils show that the vote was anything but a victory.
True, in some cities and villages, Fatah did win a majority of seats.
But this is not the same Fatah that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and the old guard leadership of the faction had backed.
Boycotted by Hamas, this was an election where Abbas’s veteran Fatah leadership mainly competed with Fatah candidates who decided to run on an independent ticket.
In the end, the Fatah “rebels” scored major victories in important cities, such as Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah, as well as many villages.
Abbas and the veteran Fatah leadership tried up to the last minute to dissuade the disgruntled members of his faction from running as independents, but to no avail.
The Fatah Central Committee, a body dominated by Abbas loyalists, later decided to expel all the Fatah candidates who insisted on running in the election separately.
The results of the elections show that many of the Fatah candidates who were dismissed scored significant victories. Candidates who were expelled from Fatah defeated those who expelled them: Abbas and old guard Fatah leaders.
Even in places where Abbas’s Fatah candidates won, the vote was on the basis of clan affiliation. Many Palestinians voted for Abbas’s Fatah candidates not because they were satisfied with the old guard leadership of Fatah, but simply because the candidate happened to belong to their clan.
What is perhaps most worrying for Abbas is the fact that a large number of his policemen and security officers voted for the dissident Fatah candidates who ran against the Palestinian Authority’s nominees.
Moreover, low voter turnout in many cities and villages is seen as a sign of indifference on the part of Palestinians in the West Bank. Palestinian analysts are convinced that had Hamas participated in the elections, turnout would have been much higher and the Islamist movement would easily have defeated a divided Fatah.
The low turnout and the success of Fatah rebels in the elections should be seen as a vote of no-confidence in Abbas and the old guard leadership of his ruling faction.
For decades, Abbas and his veteran loyalists in Fatah have blocked the emergence of fresh and younger leaders – something that has seriously affected Fatah’s credibility. Failure to reform Fatah and get rid of corrupt officials has also driven many Palestinians away from Abbas and his loyalists.
Abbas’s term in office expired in January 2009, but this has not stopped him from continuing to cling to power. In wake of the results of the local elections, it has become obvious that Abbas does not have a mandate — even from his Fatah faction — to embark on any significant political move, such as signing a peace treaty with Israel or applying for membership for a Palestinian state in the UN.
Instead of going to New York next month to ask for Palestinian membership, Abbas should stay in Ramallah and work toward reuniting and reforming Fatah before his political rivals drive him and his veteran loyalists out of office.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.Khaled Abu Toameh
The merger of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and the Yisrael Beiteinu party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday has left-wing parties scrambling for a solution to the sudden show of solidarity on the part of the pro-nationalist camp.
In an article by Israel HaYom, an anonymous Kadima MK said unity on the left is a big item of discussion now, with emphasis on securing a great leader who will draw votes.
According to the MK, Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, and Labor chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich are being called on to unify under the leadership of either former Foreign Minister and failed almost-Prime Minister and Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni, or the recently acquitted former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Both are expected to announce whether they will re-enter politics early next week.
Mofaz has said he will relinquish leadership of Kadima if either party needs the position in order to run for prime minister.
The strong Sephardic party, Shas, has expressed its concern over the Likud-Beiteinu merger, saying it could mean the drafting of Hareidi Jews into the army.Malkah Fleisher
Hundreds of Jewish leaders are coming to Israel next week from around the world to participate in the Jewish Agency for Israel Board of Governors in Tel Aviv, October 28-30.
The central event is expected to be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attending a ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport welcoming the first charter flight of Operation Dove’s Wings, which will the conclude the Ethiopian Aliyah.
The conference will take place under the leadership of Chairman of the Board of Governors, James S. Tisch and Chairman of the Executive, Natan Sharansky. The Board of Governors will be held in Tel Aviv for the first time, at the invitation of Mayor Ron Huldai.
The Board of Governors is comprised of organizations from around the world and meets three times a year, traditionally in Jerusalem, to hold in depth strategic discussions about issues affecting the Jewish world.Jewish Press News Briefs