A Time for Courageous Leadership

By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Our community is at an inflection point. The events of 2020 have altered the contours of Jewish life and the post-pandemic future remains unsettled and uncertain. There exists an urgent imperative to reimagine the future of community life on a foundation of deep, trusting relationships, nourished by shared learning and drawing strength from our diversity.

Your Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, in our role as a convener, is bringing together community leaders for intensive learning experiences over the next several months. We are partnering with the renowned educators from the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America to enhance the value of these opportunities. They are designed to build stronger bridges between people and organizations, understand each other’s perspectives, and to catalyze the exchange of ideas for working towards our shared goal of ensuring Jewish continuity and making our community a magnet for Jewish life. Amazing things happen when we learn together.

New possibilities arise when diverse voices create a broader space for action. I am reminded of the words of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, of blessed memory:

“What makes us different is what we are; what unites is what we do … The more diverse we are, the richer our culture becomes, and the more expansive our horizons of possibility.”

This initiative is taking place thanks to our generous donors, community members who are dedicated to ensuring Jewish continuity and strengthening the connections that lie at the heart of Jewish life. Thank you for your support and your commitment!

These experiences will be a bottom-up, community-driven endeavor. At our community leadership retreat a year ago, Hartman educators joined us to share their deep thinking and practical knowledge about the many serious issues facing Jewish life today. It was a time of shared learning and strengthening of relationships. Now, through the initiative that will be getting underway this fall, we are building on that accomplishment to secure our Jewish future, even as we face challenging circumstances no one foresaw a year ago.

We are convening three different groups across the community: lay, professional, and rabbinical leaders. The groups comprise community anchors whose influential voices and broad networks bring critical perspectives to what we expect will be deep conversations, rooted in Jewish values, about the state of our community and the issues before us. We will seek to reach a shared understanding about the hows and whys of building a vibrant future for Jewish life. By learning together and gaining clarity on community needs, communal leaders participating in this work will create a broader space for imaginative, practical ideas for bringing more people to Jewish life and deepening its experience for all.

We look forward to a fruitful learning experience at this critical time for Jewish Puget Sound. Through our shared dedication and boundless energy, aided by the wise counsel of our friends from the Shalom Hartman Institute, a bright future is ours to build.