By Dr. Donald A. Sylvan--Lay Hillel leaders and Hillel Directors from throughout Ontario came together at the Prosserman JCC on Sunday, November 16 to discuss how to create strong lay-professional partnerships to benefit our Jewish students. Dr. Hal Lewis, President and CEO of the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago, author of two significant books on Jewish leadership, ably facilitated the retreat.
Thirty lay and professional Hillel leaders from throughout the province took part in this retreat. Hillel of Greater Toronto, Western, Queens, Guelph, Mc Master, and Waterloo each had both lay and professional representatives participating in this day of Hillel capacity-building.
Dr. Lewis told the participants that “Four of the key elements of an effective lay –professional relationship are the importance and process of creating a collaborative relationship; how to clarify expectations and boundaries; the importance of regular communication, including having difficult conversations; and how to create a context in which to manage conflict.” Differences in how these processes might play out in fledgling Hillel Advisory Committees and in established Hillel Boards were an important focus of Dr.Lewis’ presentation and the ensuing dialogue. Discussion was lively and participants had the opportunity to delve into case studies of lay-professional relations at two of our Hillels. The group concluded the day by discussing how to productively follow up on the base created at this first ever event of its kind. UJA Federation of Toronto generously supports Hillel Ontario.
Dr. Sylvan is Executive Director, Hillel Ontario