Peer Leading in Bethlehem
Jason Rodich is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
In January I participated for a second time on a trip to Bethlehem with Encounter, an organization founded by an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program that brings Diaspora Jewish leaders to the West Bank to meet with various Palestinian leaders.
During this trip, I was asked to be one of the small group facilitators; my role was to help my peers process the experience we were having. To be sure, Encounter is neither light nor easy and one is asked to “listen with resilience” to many things which may be quite difficult to hear.
When I met my group five days before we would travel together I was concerned as to how I would help “make” this experience meaningful and, in particular, “provide” the space that participants needed to process the experience.
It turned out that as much as I wanted to “make” and “provide” something for my group, I also very much needed something for myself. What was so incredible is that my small group supported all of us well, including the leader.
Perhaps a good measure of your own leadership is how well those around you are able to lead alongside you. How much can you rely on your own structure to get you, and not just those around you, through challenges, and to what extent do you also have a deep personal stake in the direction your community is moving? If you are heartbroken, can you, appropriately, let it show?