I feel a little guilty writing a leadership book when there are so many on the
shelves already. So let me explain why I wrote my new book*, Re-imagining
Leadership in Jewish Organizations. When I left my position at
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington a few years ago, I gave a speech
that outlined the lessons I had learned from being the CEO of that Federation.
Many people approached me afterwards to thank me and also to share their own
observations. There was so much to say that I had culled from both reading and
leading that the book almost wrote itself. Every leader should have his or her
own ten commandments of leadership.
Decades of Jewish communal service has taught me the importance of Jewish
literacy, of inspiration, of being mentored and mentoring, of creating certain
kinds of lay and professional partnerships and of working quickly. I am honored
that Larry Moses, the former president of the Wexner Foundation, wrote the
forward to the book because so much of what has inspired me and helped me build
a foundation for my leadership came from my exceptional years with the Wexner
There I also learned the value of thinking about leadership within a uniquely
Jewish framework. Leadership learning is not Jewish per se. Just as ethical
values are universal but can have their wellspring in Jewish sources, I feel
that most of the lessons I learned about leadership are universal but tinged
with a Jewish flavor and apply to our particularistic work cultures. In
writing the book, the ten lessons I shared are true of most leaders I know, no
matter their faith or if they run a for-profit of a non-profit organization.
But when it comes to Jewish organizations, we need a more “for prophet”
approach. We need ancient voices and modern musings and the discipline to take
leadership lessons and translate them into the way we actually run
organizations. We need more leaders, more ethical leaders and better-qualified
leaders for the complex challenges ahead. I’ve discovered many lessons and
have many more to learn. I am exicted to share them and can’t wait for you to
read the book and give me your feedback and your ten lessons.
author's proceeds from the Re-imagining
Leadership in Jewish Organizations are
benefiting The Jewish Agency for Israel.
Dr. Misha Galperin is President & CEO of Jewish Agency International