I’m seated at the front of the room as co-chair of a committee called Dialogue Initiative. Everyone walks into the room with a mix of enthusiasm and reservation. We’ve sold the meeting as a place to have difficult conversations, with one big caveat: the goal is not to convince somebody else to change their mind. While our deepest desire may be to learn the tools for persuasive arguments, the goal we have all agreed upon is to learn to listen. The banter will
WGF/DS Alum Jordanna Amsel (Class 27)
At the 2016 JFNA GA, I had the opportunity to meet Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg z”l as she recorded a message for PJ Library families about the children’s book depicting her life, I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark. I was starstruck by her presence – she was small in stature yet larger than life. I was in awe of her ability to beat the odds as a Jewish woman, to
WGF/DS Alum Dr. Ari M. Gordon (Class 21)
The imperative to engage in difficult conversations – like the notion of leadership itself – is premised on the principle that change is possible. Painful relationships may be healed, challenging dynamics may be transformed and stubborn misconceptions may be upended. We take risks to reach across divides, because we believe that the way things are need not continue forevermore. For Jews, the idea that growth and change are possible is built into the fabric of our holiday cycle and our Torah. The Jewish new year commemorates the creation of the world and just after Sukkot we re-commence the cycle of Torah reading from the beginning—Parashat Bereishit. The biblical account of creation, however, is
This year — in this unusual and uncertain year — unable to gather in community I chose instead to pray outside. The words and songs of the service streamed out of my phone, which sat neatly tucked into my tool belt I had been weeding as I prayed along, enjoying the morning sunshine and the cool fall air. I think it was out somewhere between the rows of fading sunflowers
WIF Sharon Abraham-Weiss (Class 23) and WIF Alum Orli Garti-Seroussi (Class 8)
Nearly a year after our meeting in Virginia, we demonstrated flexibility by deciding to adapt the scheme of our program to a new, unexpected reality. We were determined to produce high quality and professional outcomes and hope that we have managed to create an impact that will elevate women’s status as full partners of Israel’s society.
WHP Alum Hava Leipzig Holzhauer (Boca Raton 07)
Exploring the concept of ‘separate but equal’ put me in wonder of whether true gender equality could even exist. If men and women identify, are by nature or are commanded differently than one another – in aspirations, in household roles, in behaviors, in characteristics, in job selections, in interests, in required religious and ritual observance – can and do we truly attribute to each the same value? I determined that theoretically we could, but in how things played out in reality - not even close.
From the very beginning, God commands us to be allies. And furthermore, one detail in the text draws our attention to a specific, fundamental form of allyship: “male and female God created them.” Or in contemporary parlance, thou shalt strive to advance the cause of gender safety and equity.
If you asked an expert when these various changes to the workplace would finally take hold in America, you probably would have been told in another 10+ years. COVID-19 has acted like the illustrious InstantPot, taking everything we had and expediting the process. Well, almost everything. Due to the high-pressure speed at which recipes are cooked, when an ingredient is left out of the InstantPot, it’s very noticeable. A lack of salt, acid or rich umami flavor will be noticed instantly. I have a bad taste in my mouth as a result of this COVID-19 workplace stew, because we forgot the women.
WHP Alum Jen Schmitz (St. Louis 15)
"Without the misery of the past, I would never know my gratitude for the present.” After a not unsurprising professional change, Jen processed what she had encountered throughout her career and used it to propel her forward, rather than keeping her behind.