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Wexner Heritage Program

Jewish learning and leadership development for volunteer leaders in North America

Adaptive Talmud Online Learning

Session #2: Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 8-9:30 pm EST

Identifying Technical vs. Adaptive Challenges: The Day They Fired the Head of the Academy


Access the meeting here.

Technical Work: problem defining and problem solving that effectively mobilizes, coordinates, and applies currently sufficient expertise, processes, and cultural norms.
Adaptive Work: Holding people through a sustained period of disequilibrium during which they identify what cultural DNA to conserve and discard and invent or discover the new cultural DNA that will enable them to thrive anew; i.e. the learning process through which people in a system achieve a successful adaptation. (pp. 303 and 307, Heifetz et al).

Please review these short Jewish and leadership sources to maximize your learning.

Jewish Context
1.    Babylonian Talmud Tractate Brachot 26a–28a

Adaptive Leadership Context

1.    Distinguishing Adaptive from Technical Challenges; Pp. 26-27, Williams (2015).
2.    Technical Problems, Adaptive Challenges, and Loss; Pp. 19-23, Heifetz et al (2009).

Optional Further Talmud Readings
•    Background to the Story - Encyclopedia Judaica, Second Edition, Volume 7, pp. 365-366, Volume 11, pp. 450-452
•    Must the Patriarch Know 'Uqtzin? The Nasi as Scholar in Babylonian Aggada, Dr. Devora Steinmetz, AJS Review, Vol. 23, No. 2. (1998), pp. 163-189.

Previous Sessions

Session #1: Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 8-10 pm EST
Change is Fundamentally about Loss: The Day the Rabbis Lost the Temple 

Additional Texts

Adaptive Leadership Context:
1. Give the Work Back:  Resisting Pressure to Hold onto It, Pp. 161- 164, Heifetz et al. (2009)
2. Give the Work Back: Observe, Ask, Interpret, Act, Pp.123-139, Heifetz & Linsky (2002)

Jewish Context

1. What is the Talmud? Read From Text to Tradition (Schiffman)
2. The Destruction of the Temple (Greenberg)  
Adaptive Leadership Context
1.  The Role of Loss in Adaptive Leadership. Articles in this section include:

  • People Resist Loss, not Change
  • Name the Losses at Risk
  • Mourning Loss
  • When the Leader Experiences Loss

Greenberg, Rabbi Irving, (1988) The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays, NY, NY: Simon and Schuster. 

Heifetz, Ronald A. and Marty Linsky (2002) Leadership on the Line. Boston, MA:  Harvard Business School Press.

Heifetz, Ronald, Alexander Grashow, Marty Linsky (2009) The Practice of Adaptive Leadership. Boston, MA:  Harvard Business School Press.

Schiffman, Lawrence (1991) From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism. NY, NY: Ktav Publishing.

Williams, Dean (2015) Leadership for a Fractured World. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Optional Adaptive Leadership “refresher” including short (4 minute) video providing overview of Adaptive Leadership