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2018-03-09 digital edition
TODAY in the Jewish World:

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March 9, 2018  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Scholar-in-Residence theme: ‘The Engaged Congregation’

Rabbi Hayim Herring Rabbi Hayim Herring As the makeup of the Jewish community becomes more diverse, how does a congregation keep pace in the 21st century? How do you handle the oldsters vs the hipsters?

Rabbi Hayim Herring, will present stories of synagogues that have re-imagined and engaged their congregations within our changing Jewish community during Congregation Kol Ami’s Rabbi Joel Wasser Memorial Scholar-in- Residence Weekend.

On the weekend of April 13-15, Rabbi Herring will present lectures based on his book, Leading Congregations and Nonprofits in a Connected World: Platforms, People and Purpose, and new research from his forthcoming book on what it means to be a multi-generational community.

Many congregations across the United States are grappling with a similar set of issues: seeking to innovate without disenfranchising members who are content with the congregation’s current programming; balancing fiscal responsibility with new models of membership that reflect changed financial realities and values; and recruiting new volunteers who are not interested in hearing from veterans about why “things have to be done in a certain way.”

On Friday, April 13 at 6 p.m., Rabbi Herring will provide a broad overview of the changed landscape of the Jewish community with the program “Who Moved my Jewish Community?” The Jewish community has changed in fundamental ways. Discussions about Israel in the past used to mobilize congregants, but today they can be equally polarizing. Over one-third of Jewish households contain at least one person who is not Jewish. Younger generations bring a different value set toward civic and congregational involvement. Even baby boom- ers, who used to be reliable mainstays of congregational life, are increasingly questioning the value of contributing time and money to congregations.

The presentation will lay the groundwork for the Shabbat morning d’var torah/presentation.

Saturday, April 14 at 9:30 a.m., the rabbi introduces his program on “Your Role in Transitioning to an Engaged Congregation.” The ways in which congregations were structured in the past are not up to today’s challenges of becoming an engaged congregation. Congregations still need board and committee members, but transitioning to an engaged congregation means each member is empowered to rethink how a congregation conducts its work so it can be more inclusive of new ideas and possibilities. In this presentation, participants will learn some proven principles of engagement that work in a congregational setting.

On Sunday, April 15, the Rabbi will present a two-hour workshop, “Inspiring Community Through Practices of Enagagement,” beginning at 10 a.m. Participants will draw upon the congregation’s recently-revised mission statement and insights from the Shabbat presentations as a framework for reenvisioning Congregation Kol Ami as an engaged congregation. Congregants will work in small groups to creatively generate potential solutions to existing challenges and identify new opportunities to help the congregation grow.

Rabbi Herring, Ph.D., is an author, presenter and nonprofit organizational futurist, with a specialty in congregations and Jewish nonprofit organizations. The trademarked mantra on his website,, is “Preparing Today’s Leaders for Tomorrow’s Organizations.”

Since moving to Minneapolis in 1985, he has served as a rabbi of Beth El synagogue, a senior federation executive and executive director at S.T.A.R. (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal). Hayim has worked with more than 300 rabbis and congregations of all sizes and denominations throughout North America on a wide range of issues, including continuing rabbinic education, volunteer leadership development, governance, strategic planning, organizational foresight and innovation.

Other of Rabbi Herring’s recent publications are Keeping Faith in Rabbis: A Community Conversation on Rabbinical Education; Tomorrow’s Synagogue Today: A Guide for Study and Action; Tomorrow’s Synagogue Today: Creating Vibrant Centers of Jewish Life.

Each presentation will stand on its own, but congregation members are encouraged to attend all three presentations. The lectures are open to the community. For more information, call the Kol Ami office at (813) 962-6338.

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