“For every beginning is difficult”

AND NOW — if you will now take upon yourselves the observance of My commandments, it will be pleasant (easy) to you from now and henceforth, for every beginning is difficult (Mekhilta d’Rabbi Yishmael 19:5:1).

Earlier this week, I stepped (dove headfirst) into an executive director role and for months prior, I’d been obsessing about the great Rabbi Ishmael and the short quote (and surrounding text) from the Midrashim. In a nutshell, “For every beginning is difficult,” raced through my head constantly. Continue reading ““For every beginning is difficult””

May our New Year be sweet, creative & strategic:

V E R Y.

I’m thinking that in 5779 , we will need to be extra resourceful and creative. Thus far, 5778 has been okay, but fraught with steep challenges. (I won’t delve into politics, grief or human rights violations in this post.) I like to think of 5778 as, “paying our dues in research, development, patience and strategy.” Continue reading “May our New Year be sweet, creative & strategic:”

The Kvelling Kishke Kampaigner

When I first began fundraising professionally, I remember trying to hide how emotional I was in my cases for support. I was embarrassed, even though my kvelling got the job done quite nicely.

More than a decade ago, I became immersed in philanthropy, although, I was born and raised to be philanthropic.  Continue reading “The Kvelling Kishke Kampaigner”

Doing What I Loathe Out of Love

I hate to even mention this, but since I’ve written a few articles about it and I sort of never shut up, there has been A LOT I haven’t liked about #GivingTuesday.

I don’t mean to be the cranky Jewish “Scrooge” of philanthropy, (Scrooge-stein?), but for me, unless #GivingTuesday is implemented in a uniquely creative manner that sets an organization apart, most nonprofits appear like they’re standing in line, waiting for a #GivingTuesday number at a busy deli, I kind of can’t stand it.  Continue reading “Doing What I Loathe Out of Love”

The Expert Neophyte

In my professional life, I take comfort AND yield countless benefits, from approaching things as a hungry collaborator who doesn’t know more than you do, no matter what the organizational chart says. I internally (and sometimes externally) overtly identify as a neophyte  (with extensive experience in leadership behind me), on a wide variety of subjects. I find this tactic not only propels my openness to learning and growth, but helps me perform with my ego checked at the door long before a project actually begins. (The more egos that can be checked at the door, obviously, produce fun and successful teamwork.) This often creates a level playing field, and an empowered ensemble that implements great work. Continue reading “The Expert Neophyte”

L’dor Va’dOR(T): ORT Through Generations

One of the most inspiring things about involvement in ORT is that it is so often passed down through families – my own included. I recently had a chance to sit down and talk with two members of another “ORT family” – Dyna Wise and her grandson, Larry Burley. Here’s a recap of our conversation: Continue reading “L’dor Va’dOR(T): ORT Through Generations”

The Jew Who Wasn’t a Jew Until She Was

This is hard for me to write but less hard for me to make right.

I have recently gotten hooked on long bicycle rides. 20 miles may not be much for a cyclist who wears super cute Lycra clothes that say things like, “Shimano.” For me, 20 miles is as far as my Day-Glo white legs wish to take me. Like many cyclists, I work up a pretty good shvitz. Continue reading “The Jew Who Wasn’t a Jew Until She Was”