Jewish Leadership–that is, what makes a leader in the Jewish tradition–has been on my mind a lot lately, as PresenTense grows and my primary goal is to grow leaders within our organization.
In a drash for the Wexner newsletter, I write:
Risk-taking and humility, mixed with a boldness forged by a passion for social justice—the recipe the Torah suggests makes a good leader—are the marks of a social entrepreneur. A contemporary term, but an ancient concept, social entrepreneurship is the practice of seeking to solve problems through the launch of risk-taking ventures with few initial resources and large aspirations. Our People were built by these types of individuals, and our State was developed thanks to the pioneering attitudes of their Halutznik ancestors. In short, the Jewish People has built and sustained itself thanks to the risks and the associated rewards of those who threw themselves all-in for the sake of the greater collective.
The training of social entrepreneurs, and thereby leaders, should therefore respect the place of risk and possible failure in the production equation. By rewarding those who have succeeded against all odds, and understanding that contemporary and sustained on-the-ground success, as opposed to models of leadership recognizable to the previous generation, should determine communal decision, our community will be able to better provide leadership to tackle our future challenges.
Read on–and I would love to hear your thoughts.