Temple Israel to host Prof. David Elcott, expert on Jewish Communal leadership

by | Oct 19, 2012 | What’s Happening

Community Shabbaton — Friday, Oct. 26–Sunday, Oct. 27

Over the past two years, a good new spirit has gathered strength in the local Jewish community, a spirit of collegiality and partnership, encompassing the synagogues in town and the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Last year, the synagogues and Federation joined forces to celebrate the first annual Federation Shabbaton. Temple Israel played a significant role in that endeavor, hosting Shoel Silver for a Sunday morning brunch and conversation about the challenges to Jewish unity, in Israel and domestically.

On Saturday, Oct. 27, as a key component of the second annual Community Shabbaton, Temple Israel will host Professor David Elcott, scholar in residence. He will speak on “Rebuilding Community: The Search for New Models of Leadership.” As ever, this Shabbaton is free and open to the public.

A scholar in the field of political psychology and Middle East studies, and an expert in the study of American sociological developments, Elcott has a record of incisive analysis and effective communication. He has published A Sacred Journey: The Jewish Quest for a Perfect World. Among the leadership positions in which he has served, he has been a vice president of CLAL: the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and is the former national director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee.

It ought to come as no surprise to members of Tidewater’s Jewish community that the phenomenon of “bowling leagues” as a metaphor for American social life, when Americans saw themselves as “joiners” in a full spectrum of organizations and enterprises, is not as attractive to the current generation as it was to their grandparents. It should be seriously pondered: in an era of “bowling alone,” how dose the Jewish community become re-grounded? That is a subject that will require more than a weekend retreat to comprehend and to solve, but this weekend will provide an excellent setting for mobilizing thoughts and energies.

Dr. Elcott will also speak at other synagogues throughout the weekend, including Congregation Beth El, B’nai Israel Congregation and Ohef Sholom Temple. For a complete schedule and more information about the Community-Federation Shabbaton call Carolyn Amacher, 757-452- 3181, email camacher@ujft.org, or visit www.jewishva.org.

Reprinted in part from the October, 2012 Temple Israel bulletin

by Rabbi Michael Panitz