Relate. Engage. Inspire. When I think about what it means to be a Jewish leader, it is these three words that come to mind.
Relate – Relationships are at the heart of our community. We can’t achieve anything unless we learn to connect to one another, learn each other’s stories, and act collectively. Jewish leaders are called upon to build relationships with those we serve and those we teach.
Engage – I believe it is the duty of any Jewish leader to engage others in Jewish living, whether it be through study, acts of loving-kindness, service and worship. Our job is to help other Jews engage Jewishly in the world.
Inspire – Our community is in need of inspiration. We must bring the inspiring truths of our tradition to people everywhere, Jews and non-Jews alike. Our teachings can be as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago, if we only learn how to translate them into a 21st-century mode.
Esther L. Lederman has been the associate rabbi at Temple Micah since 2009. Very involved in the wider Jewish community, she serves on the advisory council of AVODAH in Washington, the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Violence, a project of Jewish Women International, and serves on the national board of Ameinu, a national, progressive Zionist organization.