La fin d'année au Leo Baeck College est assez dense.

Il y a eu tout d'abord le Summer Institute du 29 juin au 02 juillet. Durant ces 3 jours, nous avons réfléchi ensemble sur la question du leadership dans les communautés juives. Comment construire une communauté, bâtir et fonder son identité, qu'est ce qui fait le sel de la communauté.

Pourquoi sommes-nous présents au Summer Institute ? Qu'est-ce qui au fond nous motive ?

Deux rabbins animaient ces sessions : Steven Greenberg, un rabbin Conservative américain et Shoshana Boyd Gelfand.

Voici le programme tel qu'il apparaît sur le site du Leo Baeck College :

Summer Institute programme

Summer Institute 2009 – Programme Outline

Tuesday June 30th

1. WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE WORLD

We begin this exciting intensive exploration of Jewish Leadership in our changing world with a focus on the issues that surround us in the world today…. In what ways has the desire for pluralism coloured the innovative programming going on within and outside synagogues? How has the search for authentic Jewish identity in many different facets affected the membership of our synagogues, as well as those who currently place themselves outside organised community life? Using recent research findings from both the UK and USA, we will explore the phenomena of thickness and thinness in a Jewish identity and the role of the home community alongside other Jewish opportunities. What exactly are Jews committed to and what should they be committed to? How permeable should our communities be to those moving in and out while making their own autonomous choices?

2. POLARITY MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP

This of course raises large issues for those in positions of leadership trying to guide and steer both institutions and individuals along Jewish journeys. The tensions are manifest in our communities and we will draw upon participant experiences in leadership to demonstrate polarity management. This key tool for leaders will enable us to navigate our way through the polarities at work today in our communities and congregations and integrate competing issues. Knowing what the underlying issues are will help determine ways to grapple with congregants’ views on change and innovation or continuity and stability.

Wednesday July 1st

1. ROLE OF THE PROGRESSIVE SYNAGOGUE

The role of the synagogue has not always been the same and texts from the 1st century indicate that the emerging institution called the synagogue was a place of refuge and solace. What is our role in this today? How have our biblical and rabbinic texts understood the inclusivity of our tradition and what is our way of ‘opening the tent’ today. We will look in-depth at the textual material in order to regain a sense of the flexibility inherent in earlier times and the ways it can be relevant to us as leaders of communities today. What can our synagogues offer today that will be of passionate interest to Jews? In the fraught world that has come about since the economic crises, Jewish communities are more and more shouldering the burden of individual hardship or loss. From an enriched understanding of the Jewish concept of community, we will need to come to know our roles as Jewish leaders for these times.

2. STRATEGIC SUCCESS AND CHALLENGES

Sharing our successes is an important part of the narrative that we will tell. Using fellow participants as ‘critical friends’, we will celebrate success and enable each of us to manage our weaknesses through a series of case stories. Whether we can lead our organisations technically, or show adaptation as necessary in the rapid changing Jewish world, will be an important feature of this analysis. Why are so many exciting things happening outside our communities? Will our congregants continue to show allegiance to one community or to many? Are we supposed to be offering ‘goodies’ to everyone? Will we, like Hansel and Gretel, entice them to merely devour them?

Thursday July 2nd

1. PERSONAL JEWISH NARRATIVE

So how are we doing? What is our personal narrative as leaders? To what do we owe our allegiance and where are we going ourselves? What do we need? Too often our original aspirations become jaded and stymied in the complex make-up of communities. Where are our natural allies? How can we plan for the obstacles ahead? Drawing upon the highly successful experience of our two presenters, Rabbis Steve Greenberg and Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, we will explore the personal, institutional and Jewish narratives that inform our work and mission. Each of us need our own mission statement and be able to express it succinctly. We will practice doing so!

In a telos of Jewish life, we have to ask the question what is the purpose of our religious communities? Why does the world need us? Why do we need Judaism? From Abraham’s hineni, we have responded to a call to serve God, but what is Commanded and what is merely the unfolding of our lives? A provocative and deeply stimulating look at the very essence of our Jewish lives and leadership will conclude our Summer Institute, but initiate a renewed sense of vigour for the tasks ahead.

2. RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SPACE

Where does our Judaism fit in the deliberations of our time. What does Progressive Judaism have to say about sexuality, science, time of death issues, earth consciousness etc. How can these public issues inform the developing Judaism in which we live out our everyday lives