Dr. Erica Brown is an associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at The George Washington University and the director of its Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. She is the author of twelve books on leadership, the Hebrew Bible and spirituality; her forthcoming commentary is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile (Koren/OU). She has been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Tablet and The Jewish Review of Books and wrote a monthly column for the New York Jewish Week. She has blogged for Psychology Today, Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” and JTA and tweets on one page of Talmud study a day at DrEricaBrown.
Charlene is the Leichtag Foundation’s Executive Vice President. She has played a key leadership role in the development and implementation of Leichtag Foundation’s strategic framework and oversees grantmaking. She has designed innovative and creative programs such as funder partnerships and consortia, the Jerusalem Model, the International Office for Jerusalem Partnerships, the Hive at Leichtag Commons, and others; and provides overall management and strategy development.
This is an important point to consider within religious movements as they advocate for their adherents to be more humble with their voice, yet many of those being addressed do not a have voice in the communal conversations to begin with - do not have a seat at the table when decisions are being made around who counts and who doesn’t, who is ordained and who is not.
One of the successes that Rabbi Plumb touched on was how it allowed for people to bring their whole selves into the community. One of the middot (attributes) that the congregation adopted was the idea of b’tzelem elohim that each and every human being is divine and that every part of their lives is filled with holiness (holy sparks, some might say) - no part of which they should feel ashamed or judged for.
I live in the United States and as far as I can tell we value tackling problems head on and solving them once and for all. Once we set our minds to something we expect to see results and to see them right away.
This demand for quick a turnaround shows up in all areas of our lives. From relationships, to the ways we give charity, and perhaps most obviously in the ways we diet. There has to be a “before” and “after” picture and there has to be one immediately. If results aren’t seen after a few short weeks … “why did I even bother with this to begin with” we ask ourselves while looking for the next quick solution.
But then what about things like prayer or meditation - things that don’t yield immediate or visible results? Should I just throw out my prayer shawl along with my old iPhone because it too didn’t get me to my desired goal fast enough? That’s definitely a thought that has crossed my mind many times.