Barri Waltcher

Barri Waltcher

Inside Leadership
Temple Shaaray Tefila delegation at the URJ Biennial in 2017

Albert Einstein famously defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” In some ways that describes Biennial recruitment at my synagogue, Temple Shaaray Tefila on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, for many years. Although we consistently had a respectable 15 or so attendees, we bemoaned the fact that more people didn’t join us for such a meaningful experience, as we continued to rely primarily upon the same communication vehicles: flyers and notices in our weekly e-news.

When the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) introduced special...

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Students with gun violence prevention signs

At the end of February, the week after the Parkland tragedy, Joel Mosbacher, Temple Shaaray Tefila’s senior rabbi, offered his space in the congregation’s weekly newsletter to Julia Feller, our youth group president. Julia wrote a moving, powerful message that said, in part:

[O]ne lunch period is not nearly enough time to understand and view [the gun violence] issue through every lens it deserves; therefore, the teens of Shaaray Tefila have decided to take matters to the synagogue, where gun violence is equally likely to affect us, and where we are allowed the time and space to...

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Block letters -- A-B-C -- in an outstretched palm

When I was a child, I would swim the long length of the pool without taking a breath. I remember gasping for air when my hand finally touched the wall. That is exactly how I feel now – at the end of the first of three years as president of Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City.

It’s been a long, exhilarating year and I’m grateful for these quieter summer days that offer time to review the past 12 months and plan for the year ahead. The ABCs I use as a career coach to help clients self-reflect are the same ones I’m using to coach myself.

Assess: What did I learn? I started...

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