Klal Perspectives – New Issue: Communal Leadership Infrastructure
Klal Perspectives, the online journal of Orthodox communal responsibility, is proud to release its latest issue, on communal leadership infrastructure.
Working with the editorial board of Klal Perspectives is time-intensive, but exhilarating. The five of us are so entirely different – and yet work exceptionally well with each other, and have kept it up now for a few years. When we achieve a meeting of the minds, we tend to relax, thinking that we must be right, if we can agree despite our diversity.
Boy, have we been wrong.
We were sure, at times, that a particular topic would be a breeze to execute, or would be received without controversy, only to learn that the opposite was true. We thought that the issue on the future of the teshuva movement would be a sleeper. Instead, it engendered more controversy than any previous issue. The dust didn’t settle for months.
We believed that this issue would be an easy one to produce, with lots of potential contributors all ready to share their visions for the future. It didn’t quite happen. We found many people very uneasy about not having all that much to say about vision or the future. The more courageous, whose essays you will read, should be commended for their honesty and responsibility.
We sense a community of people so stressed out with the good work they are doing, that there is not much time or energy left for putting together a Master Plan for the future. Our contributors did not do what some of us had hoped for, probably naively: describe new, sweeping, effective models for streamlining services and coordinating activities. They did, however, shed much light on why such models were not in the making – and that demonstrated that it is not because of lack of will. A good number of contributors gingerly offered first steps in moving away from older organizational structures to newer ones, and in motivating more people to be part of the process. (My personal picks for the essays that gave me the most to think about are the contributions of Moshe Bane, Rabbi Hauer , and Dr. Fried. I guess that is suspect, since two of the three are fellow members of mine on the editorial board!)
One thing seems certain. Given the lack of any centralized authority for what is now, b’ezras Hashem Yisborach, a huge community, none of the suggestions will get off the ground unless people consider them, talk about them, debate them. (Within the first hours of the issue’s release, we already have seen meaningful networking take place between people interested in the same questions that came about through the essays.) It is in the collection of those suggestions and placing them before an intelligent, motivated readership that KP achieves some of its stated mission.
My favorite quote (from a footnote in Rabbi Moshe Hauer’s essay):
When I was installed as rabbi of our shul, my Rebbe, HaRav Yaakov Weinberg, zt”l, came to the celebratory banquet. As was the custom, the banquet began with the American and Israeli national anthems. Rav Weinberg was a profound lover of Eretz Yisrael but he was not a Zionist, and would not of his own accord sing the secular anthem of Medinat Yisrael. Nevertheless, he stood next to me and sang along in full voice, recognizing that, for many in the assembled group, Medinat Yisrael was a focal point of Jewish identity and activity and that it was appropriate for him to recognize and uphold this value for their sake. He was confident that his students would not misunderstand his singing of Hatikvah as a philosophical shift, but would see it instead as an expression of his respect for Klal Yisrael.