JTNews | July 13, 2012
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DESCRIPTIONJTNews | The Voice of Jewish Washington for July 13, 2012
the voice of jewish washington Leadership changes Page 6 Our five favorite dentists Page 11 The London Olympics: Hope and disappointment Page 17july 13, 2012 23 Tammuz 5772 volume 88, no. 14
The Rabbis VisitIsraels former chief rabbi visits Seattle Page 8Joel magalnick
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More women are needed as leadersMarcie NataN JTa World news ServiceNEW YORK (JTA) Pride and chagrin: Its rare that the two emotions are experienced simultaneously. But that is how we are feeling at Hadassah. We feel pride because women now hold three of our top professional positions: Janice Weinman is our new executive director and CEO; Osnat Levtzion-Korach is the new director-general of Hadassah University Hospital-Mount Scopus in Israel; and Rabbi Ellen Flax is executive director of the $10 million Hadassah Foundation. Of course, as a national womens organization, our national presidents all have been women, our legal counsel is a woman, our Israeli office is headed by a woman, and female doctors head numerous departments at both of Hadassahs hospital campuses. On Capitol Hill and in Israel, Hadassah continues to advocate strongly for women. Yet despite Hadassahs strong focus on women and the many of us who serve in high-level leadership positions, we also feel chagrin because 100 years after our founding, it remains all too unusual for women to hold top professional positions in any organization. We want to set the model, not to be the outlier. Salary-based and hiring discrimination against women in the workplace are still an issue, but there is another dynamic at play. The desire for a worklife balance we hear so often about of late demonstrates just how complicated it can be for women to take time away from their families to work or away from their jobs to raise their children. Women comprise 51 percent of the population, yet more than nine decades after we received the vote, and nearly five decades after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, we still lag in leadership. Just 17 women hold seats in the U.S. Senate and 73 in the House of Representatives. Only six states have women as governors. The U.S. Conference of Mayors reports that of the 1,248 cities with populations exceeding 30,000, just 217 have female mayors. The Fortune 1000 list includes just 39 women as CEOs. Things are no better in the Jewish world, where only two of the 20 largest Jewish federations have women at the helm. The Forward newspapers most recent salary survey shows that women head just nine of 76 national Jewish organizations. A number of women have chaired their local federations and, finally, a great woman now leads the umbrella organization for the federations. But on the top staff level, its just not the same. We need women in every kind of leadership role, and even though many women have risen through the ranks in recent years, we are nowhere near where we should be. This is not to disparage the many excellent men who hold leadership positions in our Jewish and national life, but we take special pride when we see women in those roles. More important, we know that women often bring a different voice to the public square. It was, for example, only when women brought so-called womens issues to the workplace increased maternity leave, for example that men, too, rightfully demanded paternity leave. Women care about foreign policy, but we also want to help those in poverty in our own country. Women care that the United States has a strong military, but we also strive to ensure that health care and education top priority lists. Research has demonstrated that gender diversity matters. A 2007 McKinsey study found that companies with three or more women in senior management functions score more highly on average (on nine dimensions of company excellence). These criteria include accountability and innovation. A 19-year study for the European Project on Equal Pay, conducted by Roy Adler of Pepperdine University in the 1980s and 90s, found a strong correlation between profitability and the number of women in executive positions. A 2011 study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers found that if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises. Weve certainly seen that happen on our nonprofit boards, but we cant be truly effective until women hold more of our professional leadership positions. For years, women have had to buck a paternalistic society, particularly in the Jewish world. Yet we cant solely blame society for the low numbers of women in leadership positions. We have to hold ourselves accountable as well. If we want change, we must be its catalysts. We must demand that search committees try harder to find and recruit women to fill top jobs. We must insist that our nonprofit boards pay closer attention to the makeup of professional staff not just how many men and women are employed, but also the numbers of women in management and how their earnings compare with their male counterparts. If this sounds like affirmative action, or something that might have been written 30 years ago, so be it. It is only when it is no longer novel to point to the first woman in a given position or even the second or third that we will have begun to achieve equality.Marcie Natan is national president of Hadassah, the Womens Zionist Organization of America.
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A refresher course on the Golden Rulerabbi alaN cook Temple De Hirsch SinaiI have been blessed to be involved in a number of opportunities for interfaith dialogue over the past several months. In a variety of settings, laypeople and clergy from a number of different religious traditions have discussed matters ranging from marriage equality to the epidemic of violence in Seattle to homelessness and poverty. Invariably, at some point in these discussions, a facilitator has asked the question, What brings you to the table? The question represents an attempt to explore what brings a person of faith to want to spend time and energy on such issues. As I consider the responses Ive heard at these various gatherings, they are frequently variations on a similar theme. I am here, the participants say, because my faith exhorts me to perform acts of social justice, because my scriptural tradition teaches that I must reach out to correct societal inequalities and assist the less fortunate and underprivileged in our community, because my religion abides by a golden rule that inspires my actions. The Golden Rule. An ancient construct, it is nearly as old as civilization itself. Early Chinese, Greek, and Roman writings all record versions of this precept, and every modern mainstream religious tradition has its own iteration. We all may have variant concepts of how to apply this ideal to our daily interactions with others, but at the end of the day, there would seem to be consensus about our human responsibility to act justly. This being the case, the question then arises: Why does inequity persist in the world? Discounting for a moment the fact that Seattle is deemed one of the most unchurched regions of the country, statistics suggest that our nation overall has a high rate of religious affiliation. If so many of us are people of faith, and all of us agree that our faith tells us to perform acts of loving kindness to do unto others as we would have others do unto us why are we not living in a messianic age? I dont think the blame for this lies in the laps of those who are secular or not deeply immersed in their chosen faith. Rather, I think we have gotten away from having the tenets of our faith inform our daily behavior. Rich Stearns, CEO of the evangelical social-service organization World Vision, writes in his book The Hole in Our Gospel that many Christians have lost sight of the true intent of Jesus ministry: To advocate for a renewed focus on attending to the welfare of the downtrodden in our communities. As Jews, we take our cues from the prophets of the Hebrew Bible, yet the message remains the same. Unless we can begin to make ethical decisions through the lens of our scriptural teachings, until we integrate the teachings of Amos, Micah, Isaiah, and their counterparts into our daily deliberations, we are not living to our highest potential. For the Golden Rule to have meaning in our lives, we must not merely pay it lip service. Once again I find myself writing my guest article for the JTNews while serving on faculty at the Union for Reform Judaisms Camp Kalsman in Arlington. This week, more than 100 campers, in the midst of their typical camping activities, are engaging in shiurim in which they are discussing what it means to be a Jewish superhero. Together, campers, counselors, and staff are discovering that, in Judaism, heroics derive less from feats of strength or the ability to fly and more from the performance of middot and mitzvot that lead to tikkun olam. We hope they will return to their homes ready to perform simple acts that will work for the betterment of their communities. The point is not to prescribe a list of required mitzvot and middot, or to suggest that one is more worthy than another because of the quality and/or quantity of commandments and traditions that he or she is able to fulfill. Rather, I think its about consciousness: The more these young people and indeed, all of us can pause in their lives and consider, did I treat that person with as much respect as I should have? could I have assisted that person in any way? the more we can build toward deliberately living our lives according to the Golden Rule.Rabbi Alan Cook is an associate rabbi at Temple De Hirsch Sinai. He spent last week visiting Camp Kalsman, where his wife, Rabbi Jody Cook, is camper care coordinator, their son Gabe, 6, is dining hall manager, and their daughter Orli, 3, is resident princess.
I just want to say that I am very pleased with the performance of this journal. Here is an example of why I feel that way: Recently, the paper informed that a visiting professor at the University of Washington was none other than world-class Israeli author Joshua Sobol (the award-winning author who is famous for his play Ghetto). The news was that the famous artist was to be doing a reading and book signing at the UW Bookstore in honor of his newly released translation of his latest novel (The Israeli stage, as seen from Seattle, April 13). Without JTNews, I would not have had the opportunity to meet and chat with this Shakespeare of Israel. I read the book he autographed for me and loved it. I also attended a wonderful short version of his play Ghetto at Congregation Beth Shalom on Shavuot evening. I am deeply grateful to this publication for providing me with important news like this. It had been decades since I have had any kind of connection with the Israeli literati. I had the opportunity to share with Mr. Sobol some of my manuscripts and hopefully they will be translated into Hebrew soon, as I am an expatriate Israeli-American. Thank you and keep up the good work youre doing! Mordecai Goldstein Everett
WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We would love to hear from you! Our guide to writing a letter to the editor can be found at www.jtnews.net/index.php?/letters_guidelines.html, but please limit your letters to approximately 350 words. The deadline for the next issue is July 17. Future deadlines may be found online.
Haute couture historiesGil troy Shalom Hartman instituteThe Middle East is combustible enough without adding one-sided, incendiary historical accounts to the mix. And yet, again and again, we see what we could call haute couture history history custom-fitted to the trendy, distorted narrative that confuses cause and consequence, reduces complexity to simplicity, and ignores inconvenient facts to blame Israel as the rigid, bullying, source of Middle East trouble. Two of the latest examples emerged this week in the New York Times, and on Open Zion. In the Times, Thomas Friedman, writing about Israels relations with Egypts new rulers, perpetuated the year-plus long allegation that Israel feared Egyptian democracy because it was so convenient for Israel to have peace with one dictator, Mubarak, rather than 80 million Egyptians. Friedman then caricatured Israel as a collective court Jew, replicating a medieval pattern of relying on alliances with the powerful over healthy relationships with the people. This tall tale treats Israels unhappy acceptance of reality as a long-standing Jewish ideal. In 1979, when Israel returned all of the Sinai to Egypt for the hope of peace, Israelis believed it would be a true, full peace. The cold peace that emerged was a blow to a central collective Israeli fantasy that needs to be acknowledged when trying to understand Israeli fears about a peace deal with the Palestinians. And yes, by 2011, a cold peace with Mubarak appeared to be better than no peace with the Muslim Brotherhood. But Friedmans column would have been deeper and more accurate had he confronted the EgyptianIsraeli peace treatys messy past. Similarly, Gershom Gorenberg described the late Israeli premier Yitzhak Shamir in harsh terms as a heartless, unbending extremist, who damaged the cause of Jewish independence to which he was dedicated. Gorenbergs dyslogy the opposite of eulogy throws in the mischievous fact that Shamirs Lehi underground group was the last twentieth-century organization to identify proudly as a terror group. This semantic aside reinforces Gorenbergs recent books tendency to overlook Islamist and Palestinian terrorism. I am sure the relatives of all those who died at Munich and Maalot, at Kiryat Shmona and in the Twin Towers, will find comfort in the notion that Yasser Arafat, Osama...