Into the wind
As a child, I wondered how it could be. Sailboats move forward into the wind – a seemingly impossible obstacle.
Eventually I learned that if you embrace the headwind for power and use a rudder to steer, you can go just about anywhere. The ‘impossible obstacles’ are actually a source of energy.
For me, it was a great lesson. I now see headwinds as energy waiting to be harnessed. In fact, the Jewish people have always embraced headwinds to move forward. We’ve done it for thousands of years. And it’s our values that work like a rudder to keep us on course.
It’s no different today. We embrace the headwinds of change so we can move forward. But as a community, where are we going? And how will we get there?
The Twin Challenges of Impact and Sustainability
Last month, I spoke of our need to collaborate. I spoke of reimagining the future of our Jewish community – and finding practical and creative ways of coming together to find common ground.
It’s only here, at the intersection of common ground, where our hopes and dreams come meet. It’s here where we find fertile ground to plant seeds for our future.
Today I speak with excitement about our religious and lay leaders who are asking questions and exploring options as to what lies around the bend with regard to our Jewish future.
In my many conversations about the future, community members have expressed a heartfelt desire that we as a diverse Jewish community come closer together – that we meet on our common ground and leverage the collective resources, experience, and wisdom as we plan the future. Here, where we have so much in common, is where we will engage each other and make exciting plans for Jewish life in Michiana.
But the questions are many:
What do we want our future to be, and why is this important?
What communal goals will move us toward this destination?
How will we realize the full investment of our time, effort, and funding?
What areas of priorities should we put on the front burner?
And how will the Federation stay relevant with programs that have real impact?
One People – One Community
Defining a consensus-building process mitigates the many tests we’ll face. Yes, there will be tests. But that’s why we talk of our common ground.
One framework for building consensus is what I’m calling Vision 2025, a 3-Year Community Plan; a plan rooted in Jewish values. Values like K’lal Yisrael give voice to our collective responsibility for one another, and our community. Inclusiveness and meaningful involvement must be the hallmarks of working together towards a renewed community.
A Strong House
Vision 2025 sees a future where the Federation is on the path towards sustainability. Sustainability goes to the heart of defining what we must do in building a viable community and must therefore be the starting point for the energy and resources we put into the planning process. As such, we will be a community defined by our conversations and activities.
My hope is that our core values and common agenda for the construction of our community’s renaissance will bind us together. The ability to share power and resources and to bring ideas together in new ways are the building blocks to create a Bayit Chazek, a strong Federation house. The goal of Bayit Chazek requires a bedrock belief that change is possible. Our success will be measured in our ability to recalibrate our organizational planning and operations to meet head-on the persistent twin challenges of impact and sustainability.
One tool is mapping core activities according to their impact and financial profitability – mapping represents the dual bottom-line analysis – a process that brings critical decisions about mission impact and financial sustainability into sharp focus and allows the Federation to make sound decisions about how we deploy precious resources.
Organizations are not unlike sailboats in the wind. They either embrace headwinds as a way to move forward, or the same wind will lash at them and eventually crash them on the rocks. There are no exceptions. We either harness the wind or allow it to push you where it wants.
Like other organizations across the country and around the world, we use the energy of change to move forward. And that’s what Vision 2025 is all about.
With the input we’ve received from the community, the Federation board and professional staff will be meeting in November and December to form our plan and focus on our goals to make our community a better place, now and always, as we’ve done throughout history using our Jewish values to keep us on course.
If you want to offer a community-building idea, please reach out!