Lisa Lieberman Barzilai, RJE

Lisa Lieberman Barzilai, RJE

Inside Leadership
Somewhat abstract image of the inside of a large pipe

Cultivating a pipeline of knowledgeable, engaged leaders and creating a succession plan are critical for the vitality of any congregation. Yet, one of the most frequent questions congregational leaders across North America ask is this: “How can we find new leaders?” 

Although the process may seem mysterious, it’s actually not complex. Creating and filling a leadership pipeline includes three steps: identifying, recruiting, and supporting new volunteer leaders.

1. Identify Possible Leaders

Although it would be wonderful if it happened, most people don’t walk up to the...

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Two hands, each holding a puzzle piece, coming together

Successful Jewish leaders know the importance of working as a team: A congregation can truly thrive only when there are deep relationships among its lay and professional leaders. In congregations, these relationships – between two lay leaders, two professionals, or a lay leader and a professional – carry a unique element of holiness. They are sacred partnerships.

We define sacred partnership this way:

When two people sit together and there are words of Torah between them, theShechinah (Divine Presence) dwells among them. (Pirkei Avot 3:2)

A sacred partnership is a...

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schematic of man walking up stairs

Leadership development is critical for any congregation that expects to thrive now and in the future. An excellent and effective leadership development program includes elements of both skill-building and learning about the congregational community, providing emerging leaders with opportunities to explore and develop in these areas. Every leader, new or veteran, must learn about and reflect upon certain overarching principles to prepare for a congregational leadership role. The URJ has created a resource of self-guided modules that can serve as the basis for a congregational leadership...

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When people sit together and there are words of Torah between them, the Shechinah dwells among them. (Pirkei Avot 3:2)

In Jewish communities, there is little that you do as a single individual. This is certainly true for those of us who are leaders.

A sense of community, belonging, and mutual support are culturally engrained in us as Jewish people. We pray in a minyan, and we are expected to provide for those less fortunate and to rejoice with the bride and groom. This communal network is especially important for those of us who are in leadership roles.

Moses’s...

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The Union for Reform Judaism’s Leadership Institute seeks to inspire sacred action in our congregations by supporting and working with congregational leaders throughout their leadership journey. Whether you’re new to leadership, a longtime veteran, or haven’t yet entered the leadership ranks, you can have an impact on your congregation.

Through our work, we have learned that there are four key concepts that all leaders – lay or professional, emerging or experienced – need to embrace.

1. Leadership is a set of behaviors, not a position.

As part of the URJ Scholar Series on...

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