Posted by: Wayne L. Firestone, President on 7/24/2007 10:55:00 AM
It seems like only yesterday that I stepped into the office of the president, succeeding my good friend and mentor Avraham Infeld. In fact, it has been a full year.
As I have traveled in recent weeks I had the opportunity to reflect on my first year, on our accomplishments and our dreams. I am delighted to share some of these thoughts with you.
1. Hillel should be the SMARTEST Jewish organization. Let’s learn from our risks and experiments, learn from each other, and measure our impact.
2. Work toward the Jewish future. Our product is not complicated. If we keep content in front of us, if we keep our eyes on the essence of what we do, we will succeed in helping more students make an enduring commitment to Jewish life.
3. Focus on meaning. Students are hungry for relevance, for meaning, and for adventure. We can and should focus on both – the rest is not who we are.
4. Do less – and be more. What can you stop doing today?
5. Educate. There is nothing “informal” about what we do. We are educators – and we teach through experience.
6. Take risks. Try things that might fail. We learn through failure – both about what not to do and what could be the next great idea.
7. Stop facilitating programs. Be strategic about creating ongoing opportunities for students to be involved in Jewish life. Programs are one-time; ongoing opportunities enable students to connect to their Jewishness again and again. Relationships with students and among students ultimately best shape who we are and who students can be.
8. Tell more stories. Tell our story – tell Hillel’s story. Tell your story, your story of your Jewishness and your Hillel. Stories spread, and our story excites. Share it often.
9. Be courageous – stand up – say what needs to be said. Work with students to help them take moral risks and stretch the boundaries of who we are as human beings.
10. Be great. The best thing we can do for each other is to be excellent at what we do and together, we will involve many more students in Jewish life and demonstrate to Jewish communities around the world the strength of our organization.
As you travel, refresh, and prepare for the year, I welcome your thoughts – about these ideas and others.
Wayne L. Firestone
RE: Reflecting on One Year
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