December 2-6, 2017

EDUCATION

MESSAGE FROM THE EDUCATION CO-CHAIRS:

Working for Today, Innovating for Tomorrow: The Ever-Evolving Role of the Executive Director

 

The world is changing at a more rapid pace than ever before. The landscape of the Jewish community is evolving quickly. Synagogues are often risk-averse and slow to change. While that has served us well for many years, we are now in a time of an unprecedented rate of change driven by technology and changing demographics. The question is not, “Do we change?” but “how do we change?” and “how fast?” How does the role of the executive director need to evolve to meet the challenge that change brings? What mindsets, skills, and knowledge do we need?

There are three elements to the conference:
  1. Adaptability, Flexibility – Using techniques and concepts taking from Improv, we’ll have a hands on workshop to help us practice thinking on our feet, responding to change, and being able to pivot. At the core is learning to say “yes…and,” rather than “no…but.”
  2. Big Questions – What’s the paradigm shift for the Jewish community in the coming years? What is the role of the synagogue? of the executive director? Together we’ll take time to step back, think about the big picture, and learn from thought leaders
  3. Bringing it Home/Being a Change Agent – What do we need to know/learn that we don’t know now? We’ll have workshops led by peers and leaders in relevant fields to help us learn skills and develop concrete take-aways from the conference.

Enjoy!

Rachel Gross and Dan Deutsch
Education Co-Chairs

Come back often to this page to check out more details on speakers and programs!

GENERAL SESSIONS

David Trietsch

Saturday General Session

Managing Those Difficult Conversations

Organizational change, unclear roles, financial stress; all aspects of synagogue life that contribute to raised anxiety and dread of those one on one conversations that we’d rather avoid but need to have. Creating a safe space and strategies that build rather than undercut working relationships is the focus of this highly interactive session. Participants will leave with specific strategies and tactics that will lower the flame and provide a roadmap for having those difficult conversations.

Speaker Bio

Since 2002, David has spearheaded the growth of the LDI, a unique resource that combines intensive consultation and high level training in the areas of leadership and organizational change for leaders and potential leaders in the Greater Boston Jewish community. David’s commitment to Judaism, his charismatic leadership style and his thoughtful approach have been the catalysts for the success of the LDI in making a real difference in Jewish institutions in Boston and beyond.

An experienced leader, teacher and consultant, David has a passion for helping people and organizations succeed in not only meeting their goals and objectives, but in doing so in ways that nurture and develop both individuals and the organizational systems in which they work. In addition to his work in Greater Boston, David has worked with Philadelphia’s Jewish Learning Venture, was a scholar in residence for the Tisch Fellows at Hebrew Union College, lectured on leadership and change at the Reconstructionist Rabbinic College’s national retreat and worked in various consulting and teaching capacities with the Jewish Federations of New York, Baltimore and Miami.

After receiving his masters in Urban Planning from Rutgers University, he followed his passion for organizational change and interpersonal dynamics both professionally and in a volunteer capacity. David served as a consultant and directed Community Development for the cities of Boston and Lowell. Among his volunteer activities, David is the current chair of the Brookline Housing Authority, a Board member of “Steps to Success,” a collaboration that supports kids from low-income families, and served for over nine years as a Trustee of Temple Israel in Boston.

Margie Zohn

 

SUNDAY General Session

Improv Workshop

Theatre improvisation trains us to think, “yes, and” in a very “yes, but” world.  While we can’t actually say yes to all ideas or requests, we can learn to amplify the innovative spirit of others and generate enthusiasm in our teams.  In this fun, low stress and interactive workshop, we will practice basic improv principles that will enhance our flexibility and responsiveness to change, expand our comfort zone in how we connect with others, and spur creativity in ourselves and our colleagues.

Speaker Bio

Margie Zohn has 20 years of experience as an executive coach and trainer focused on leadership development, communication, facilitation and managing interpersonal dynamics. She also holds a faculty appointment at Harvard College teaching public speaking. As a consultant with the Leadership Development Institute of CJP, Margie has designed programs to help clergy, staff and lay leadership achieve greater organizational effectiveness. Her background is in theatre and for a number of years she was a professional actor and performed improv comedy all over the country.  Margie earned a BA from Brown University and an Ed.M from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Max Klau

SUNDAY General Session

Adaptive Leadership

As Jews, we currently face a myriad of complex problems.  How do we make Judaism relevant and meaningful?  How do we transform synagogue life when old models and approaches are no longer effective?  How do we harness the wisdom of Judaism to promote individual flourishing and tikkun olam?  The truth is that there are no simple answers to questions like these; they require us to innovate and adapt in creative and courageous ways.  In this session, we’ll encounter a powerful conceptual framework for thinking about an approach to leadership designed to effectively address these kids off challenges that has been developed and refined over several decades at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

The adaptive leadership model is grounded in two key theoretical distinctions. First, there is a difference between technical challenges, which we understand and know how to address, and adaptive challenges, which are unclear and can only be addressed by transforming deeply held beliefs, values, and norms. Second, there is a difference between authority–a formal position of power–and leadership, which is an effort that can be made by anyone to get a group to address an adaptive challenge. It’s a powerful conceptual framework that we’ll explore with some experiential learning that is sure to challenge some of your deepest assumptions about the work of leadership.

 

Speaker Bio

Dr. Max Klau is a leadership development scholar and practitioner living in Boston. He currently serves as the Chief Program Officer at the New Politics Leadership Academy, a non-profit that is dedicated to recruiting and developing alumni of national service programs to seek political office. Before stepping into this role, he was the Vice President of Leadership Development at City Year, Inc., the national service program headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Max received his doctorate of education (Ed.D.) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2005; his studies focused on civic leadership education. An alumnus of four service programs, he has completed two years of service in Israel and led service programs in Israel, Honduras, Ghana, and the Ukraine. He is on the board of the International Leadership Association, and his writing about leadership has appeared in Fast Company, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, and the Harvard Business Review.  His first book, entitled Race and Social Change:  A Quest, A Study, A Call to Action, was published in March of 2017 by Jossey Bass. For more info:  www.maxklau.com.

Rabbi Jonah Pesner

MONDAY General Session

Confronting the Urgency of Now:

Effectively Amplifying Reform Jewish Values During the Current Political Climate

Our congregations are diverse communities representing a range of political perspectives and understandings of Jewish values.  Despite that, for more than 100 years, Reform synagogues have spoken out loudly and clearly for social justice, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable among us; “the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and the poor.”  This session will focus on concrete strategies for synagogue executive directors and administrators to leverage their unique position in congregational life to help clergy and lay leaders balance the call to political action with a commitment strengthen community by honoring diverse viewpoints.

 

 

Speaker Bio

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner serves as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. He has led the Religious Action Center since 2015. Rabbi Pesner also serves as Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism, a position to which he was appointed to in 2011. Named one of the most influential rabbis in America by Newsweek magazine, he is an inspirational leader, creative entrepreneur and tireless advocate for social justice.

Rabbi Pesner’s experience as a community organizer guides his pursuit of social justice. He has been a principal architect in transforming the URJ and guiding the Reform Movement to become even more impactful as the largest Jewish denomination in the world. Among other initiatives, he is a founder of the Campaign for Youth Engagement, a bold strategy to mobilize tens of thousands of young people in the Jewish community.

Rabbi Pesner’s signature accomplishment has been to encourage Jewish communities in efforts to reach across lines of race, class and faith in campaigns for social justice. In 2006, he founded Just Congregations (now incorporated into the Religious Action Center), which engages countless clergy, professional and volunteer leaders in interfaith efforts for the common good. He has led and supported campaigns for economic justice, marriage equality, human rights and a variety of other causes. He was a primary leader in the successful Massachusetts campaign for health care access that has provided health care coverage to hundreds of thousands and which became a model for reform.

Rabbi Pesner has trained and mentored students on all four campuses of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and gives speeches in interfaith and secular venues all over the world. He has served as a scholar for the Wexner Foundation, American Jewish World Service, and Combined Jewish Philanthropies, among others. Rabbi Pesner serves as a board member of JOIN for Justice, the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, the New England Center for Children and the World Faiths Development Dialogue.

Ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1997, Rabbi Pesner was a congregational rabbi at Temple Israel in Boston and at Temple Israel in Westport, Conn. A graduate of Wesleyan University and the Bronx High School of Science, Rabbi Pesner is married to Dana S. Gershon, an attorney. They have four daughters: Juliet, Noa, Bobbie and Cate.

Dr. David Bryfman

TUESDAY General Session

BIG QUESTIONS: What Got Us Here Won’t Get Us There

Synagogues, like most other organizations, are in constant need of adaptation. This presentation and interactive workshop will look at several trends of American Jewry today, particularly our youth and young adults, and how they ought to impact synagogue life today and tomorrow. We will also focus on what roles that we can take in our synagogues to inspire and lead change – often easier said than done.

 

Speaker Bio

Dr. David Bryfman is the Chief Innovation Officer at The Jewish Education Project. David completed his Ph.D. Education and Jewish Studies at NYU focusing on the identity development of Jewish adolescents. He is a past Wexner Graduate Fellow, a current Schusterman Fellow and a Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute.

Adina Frydman

Executive Director, SYNERGY

Livia Thompson, FTA

Consultant, SYNERGY: UJA Fed. of NY

TUESDAY General Session

BIG QUESTIONS:

The Executive Director/Administrator Role: Scope of Responsibility, Authority and Power to Make a Difference in the Synagogues You Serve

In our session together we will review the key findings from UJA-Federation of New York’s new study into the landscape of the executive director/administrator role and the synagogues they serve, including insights from the presidents, rabbis, educators, and executive directors. The goal of the study was to understand, through insights from presidents, rabbis, educators, executive directors and national organizations/associations, what the job of the executive director/administrator is today, what the challenges are for individuals in that role, how that role is perceived by others, and how can that role have the greatest positive impact on making synagogues more effective, mission driven, and administration and finance strategies.  Using the findings as a jumping off point, we will explore some big questions about the current executive director role and how it might be strengthened.

What are current role expectations as expressed by the various roles in a synagogue?
What is the impact of lay leadership turnover on this role?
How do the particular needs and role of the senior rabbi impact the role?
Is there an ideal organizational structure? If not, what is the impact of the organizational structure, on paper and in reality, on the role?

Is the three-legged stool model still applicable to today’s congregations?

Are there core technical skills and EQ requirements necessary for success?
Are the executive director and administrator roles the same?
Is this role primarily about operations/logistics? To what extent could the role include visioning, change management, and strategic planning?

 

Speaker Bios

Cantor Adina Frydman is the executive director of SYNERGY: UJA-Federation of NY, which helps synagogues thrive by providing thought leadership, resources, learning opportunities, and by continuously conducting research and testing new models.  Before coming to New York in 2008, Adina was the Director of Focus Israel at the St. Louis Jewish Federation, where she worked to foster engagement between synagogues and Israel.  Adina received Cantorial Investiture from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute for Religion.  Along with her husband Rabbi Avi Katz Orlow, she has 4 children and lives in White Plains, NY.

Livia Thompson has been a professional in the not for profit world for over thirty years, largely in the Jewish community. She is an attorney, and is also a Fellow in Temple Administration.  She most recently served as the senior director of Central Synagogue from 1993-2016.   Livia was honored to serve as NATA president from 2012-2015. She is now a consultant, working with a number of Jewish organizations and Synagogues.  Livia also enjoys traveling, yoga, volunteering, political activism, family and friends.

 

WORKSHOPS

Max Klau

SUNDAY Workshop

Leading With Purpose

In the face of rapid change and complexity, how do we lead with clarity of purpose?  How do we not get overwhelmed with busy-ness and information and stay focused on the most important challenges in our congregations?  How do we maintain perspective, and stay connected to ourselves and each other?  Join this session with Dr. Max Klau to encounter an approach to leadership development that Fast Company described as “ingenious”.

Speaker Bios

Dr. Max Klau is a leadership development scholar and practitioner living in Boston. He currently serves as the Chief Program Officer at the New Politics Leadership Academy, a non-profit that is dedicated to recruiting and developing alumni of national service programs to seek political office. Before stepping into this role, he was the Vice President of Leadership Development at City Year, Inc., the national service program headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Max received his doctorate of education (Ed.D.) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2005; his studies focused on civic leadership education. An alumnus of four service programs, he has completed two years of service in Israel and led service programs in Israel, Honduras, Ghana, and the Ukraine. He is on the board of the International Leadership Association, and his writing about leadership has appeared in Fast Company, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, and the Harvard Business Review.  His first book, entitled Race and Social Change:  A Quest, A Study, A Call to Action, was published in March of 2017 by Jossey Bass. For more info:  www.maxklau.com.

Barbara Saidel

SUNDAY Workshop

Diversifying Revenue, Thinking Beyond Dues

Speaker Bio

Barbara Saidel serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the largest denomination in American Jewish life. As a member of the URJ’s Executive Team, she is responsible for overseeing all URJ operations across North America.  She plays a key role in developing and refining the URJ’s priorities and structures as Reform Judaism moves into a new era.

Barbara was among the key architects of the URJ’s strategic planning process and is playing a leadership role in implementing its new 2020 Vision.  She chairs the URJ’s Operations Leadership Team, and provides leadership, direction and hands-on management of the URJ’s membership function (RMAC), human resources, information systems, finance, and facilities. The URJ is a large and complex organization, with an $93 million budget, over 360 year-round employees, and facilities that include its headquarters in New York, the Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C., 16 residential summer camps and one day camp, as well as offices in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Israel.

Saidel has over 25 years of progressively responsible experience consulting with and managing large and mid-sized businesses. Prior to joining URJ in January 2011, Barbara was an independent consultant focused on helping not-for-profit organizations and medium sized businesses improve their effectiveness through the strategic use of information and technology.

From 1994-2009 she was Managing Director and Chief Information Officer of Russell Reynolds Associates, the international executive search and assessment firm, where she directed global information systems and knowledge management. She was also a technology consultant to President Obama’s transition team in 2008. Prior to joining Russell Reynolds, she held various leadership positions in finance, information systems and operations in law firms and investment banks. Ms. Saidel began her career as a consultant at Arthur Young and Company (now Ernst and Young), where she managed engagements in financial and operations management and improvement for middle market companies, and professional service firms. She also led several white collar productivity improvement projects for a Fortune 100 Company.

Saidel received her B.A. (magna cum laude with honors in Psychology) and M.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and her M.B.A. (with distinction) from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Certified Public Accountant.

April Baskin

SUNDAY Workshop

Widen Your Welcome: Deepening Your Engagement of Underserved, Marginalized, and Uninspired Jews

In this session, you’re invited you to consider population-specific engagement principles through peer-to-peer conversations to more effectively build relationships and meet the needs of often overlooked, under-engaged, and underserved individuals in our Jewish community. Such populations include but are not limited to individuals who identify as interfaith couples, LGBTQ, Jews of Color, Jews with disabilities, and millennials.

 

 

Speaker Bio

April N. Baskin is the Union for Reform Judaism’s Vice President of Audacious Hospitality. Before coming aboard in August 2015, she served as the national Director of Resources and Training at InterfaithFamily. Dedicated to building a stronger, more inclusive Jewish community committed to social justice, April has spent 10 years advocating for Jewish diversity inclusion locally and nationally in a variety of ways, including facilitating LGBT educational trainings as a Keshet facilitator and writing a thesis about the experiences and identities of Jewish young adults of color in American Judaism.

A graduate of Tufts University, April is a member of the Selah Leadership Network and an alumna of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation’s Insight Fellowship and JUFJ’s Jeremiah Fellowship in Washington, DC. Fueled by kale ginger smoothies, April is the immediate past President of the Jewish Multiracial Network. She conducted research on the efficacy of the Earned Income Tax Credit at the Kennedy School of Government and was an Americorps fellow for the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston. April was recently honored to be acknowledged as one of the New York Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36, received Combined Jewish Philanthropy’s Chai in the Hub award in 2015, and was named as one of 12 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2017 by the Centers for American Progress.

Gary Pforzheimer

MONDAY Workshop

Planned Giving, Securing Your Financial Future

Come and learn about how you can build a planned giving program for your congregation. Many of your members have estate plans that can be tied to your fundraising strategy. Gary Pforzheimer, founder of PG Calc, will take you through the basics of planned giving and help you unlock the opportunity to connect your members estate plan with your congregation’s financial future.

Speaker Bio

Gary is the President of PG Calc and has directed all aspects of the company since its inception. A leader in the fundraising community, Gary has spoken on planned gift development, marketing, administration, and technology-related topics to numerous groups, including planned giving associations across the country and the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (representing 10,000 gift planners nationwide, formerly known as PPP and NCPG). Gary served as the Chair of PPP in 2009 and has also received the David Donaldson Distinguished Service award from the Planned Giving Group of New England (PGGNE).

Gary is currently the President of the Board of Trustees of Temple Israel, Boston.  He received an A.B. in History from Harvard College in 1984 and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1991.

Jeremy Yamin, Judy Moseley, FTA

MONDAY Workshop

Security – Getting Your House in Order

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.  Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”  Psalm 46:1-3

In order to create increasingly aware Jewish communal institutions, one must develop and utilize a security plan. A sound security plan that will leave an institution better able to thwart and, if necessary, recover from, a security breach. Remember: the best way to protect your institution is to prepare for and prevent an incident’s occurrence in the first place.

A sound security plan in a Jewish communal institution is often as much a management issue as it is a technical one. It involves motivating and educating all staff, leaders and community members to understand the need for security and to create and implement a coherent security plan.  In this session, we will directly address cyber security in the synagogue.

In this session learn from experts and Jewish leaders how they would go about working with your congregation to become a Safe and Secure institution.

Speaker Bios

Jeremy Yamin is the Associate Vice President, Director of Security and Operations at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP).  He manages security at CJP and provides security guidance to 170 CJP affiliates including synagogues, Jewish day schools and JCC’s.  He manages the Jewish Emergency Management System (JEMS) and is a long serving member of ADL’s Communal Security Advisory Board.   Jeremy retired as Special Agent, U.S. State Department, DSS, where he managed complex security programs to protect Ambassadors, diplomats, embassies and provided security guidance to schools and businesses overseas.   Jeremy received a BA from Harvard University and a MSA from BU.

Judy Moseley, FTA is the Executive Director of Temple Beth-El in Providence, RI, where she has served for the past 6 years. Judy spent 7 years as Executive Director of Congregation Beth Israel in Worcester, MA. She is a member of the Massachusetts Synagogue Council and NATA. Judy holds a BS degree in Gerontology and Volunteer Administration from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Northeastern University and is a FTA (Fellow in Temple Administration). Judy and her husband, John, are proud parents to son, Mark, a Robotics Research Software Engineer in Massachusetts, and daughter, Erin, who is the Programming & Events Manager at Temple Emanuel in Newton MA.

April Baskin

MONDAY Workshop

About the Practical Applications of “Audacious Hospitality”

Join us as we introduce the best principles and practices of Audacious Hospitality. We will review  our most popular and effective professional development resources and offer insights on how to make Audacious Hospitality a congregational initiative.

 

 

Speaker Bio

April N. Baskin is the Union for Reform Judaism’s Vice President of Audacious Hospitality. Before coming aboard in August 2015, she served as the national Director of Resources and Training at InterfaithFamily. Dedicated to building a stronger, more inclusive Jewish community committed to social justice, April has spent 10 years advocating for Jewish diversity inclusion locally and nationally in a variety of ways, including facilitating LGBT educational trainings as a Keshet facilitator and writing a thesis about the experiences and identities of Jewish young adults of color in American Judaism.

A graduate of Tufts University, April is a member of the Selah Leadership Network and an alumna of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation’s Insight Fellowship and JUFJ’s Jeremiah Fellowship in Washington, DC. Fueled by kale ginger smoothies, April is the immediate past President of the Jewish Multiracial Network. She conducted research on the efficacy of the Earned Income Tax Credit at the Kennedy School of Government and was an Americorps fellow for the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston. April was recently honored to be acknowledged as one of the New York Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36, received Combined Jewish Philanthropy’s Chai in the Hub award in 2015, and was named as one of 12 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2017 by the Centers for American Progress.

David A. Mersky & Rachel M. Woda

MONDAY Workshop

The Role of the Executive Director in Congregational Governance:

Managing relationships among clergy, lay leadership and staff

Navigating the relationships between senior staff and lay leadership is critical to mission driven work and seamless operations.  During this session, we will provide you with tools to help clarify roles and move the needle to benefit the goals of your organization and those you serve.

Speaker Bios

David A. Mersky, Founder and Managing Director, has led planning and fundraising endeavors for more than three decades. A former congregational rabbi, he has served as the national director of resource development for the then Union of American Hebrew Congregations. He was head of corporate finance for Ampal-American Israel Corporation which raised hundreds of millions of dollars of investment capital for Israel’s private sector. He also served as vice-president of resource development of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston.  A successful consultant to nonprofits and family-controlled enterprises for nearly twenty years, David is also faculty member of Brandeis University’s Hornstein Program in Jewish Professional Leadership and director of education and professional development of the University’s Institute for Jewish Philanthropy and Leadership.
Email: david@merskyjaffe.com

Rachel M. Woda, Associate, has broad experience in campaign management, leadership development, event planning, financial and human resource development.  For the last 20 years, Rachel has worked with a wide variety of non-profit organizations at the local, regional and national level including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, and the Union for Reform Judaism.  She currently serves on the Board of Trustees and Chairs the Youth and Leadership Development Committees of Temple Beth-El (in Providence, Rhode Island) as well as serving as a Board member of Jewish Family Services in Providence, Rhode Island.

Email: Rachel@merskyjaffe.com
Mersky, Jaffe & Associates
Specializing in fundraising and executive search solutions
www.merskyjaffe.com
@merskyjaffe

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