Sunday, December 14, 2014

Be Your Best and See the Best - Inspired by Joseph and Potiphar

Another Shabbat morning fills me with inspiring meditation and text study.  With the backdrop of Chapter 39 in the Torah, the striking connection for me was the power of seeing one's potential and nurturing one's professional development.   We read that Joseph is successful working for Potiphar.   The text says,

39,3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.  39,4 And Joseph found favour in his sight, and he ministered unto him. And he appointed him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.   
Abram, Simon (2012-01-21). Torah (Hebrew Bible) (Kindle Location 1219).  . Kindle Edition. 

I immediately connect this to my professional experience.  For me, Potiphar sees something special, something extra, more than just an employee completing tasks.  Maybe Potiphar sees Joseph's leadership skills, his ability to work well with others, his ability to keep his focus on the project and his strength and compassion in the workplace.  As a supervisor, colleague and mentor, I want to see the potential in others.  Isn't that the best way to create a positive work environment?  To know that you are leading a great team, that you can depend on your colleagues or that you know where to go when you need to be inspired, encouraged, and motivated - isn't that what gets you up in the morning?  It does for me.

As the Co-President of the Jewish Communal Professionals of Southern California (JCPSC), along with Saul Korin, I am proud to say that we continue to deepen our commitment to professional development.   In 2014, our JCPSC Conference inspired the next generation of Federation professionals to ask for more.  Today, they have created an in-house professional development program and excitement has grown as we all see the incredible possibilities for the future.  The desire to learn and hone skills is ageless which is what makes this new program fantastic.  Young and old, new to the field and seasoned executives are working together to build an internal corporate program that will engage all staff.  Learning from each other, teaching each other and offering support and encourage reinforces a team environment.  Employees from different departments are working together on this program and finding new ways to interact beyond the program either socially or to benefit their own productivity in a new way.  

We are already planning an exciting calendar of events for 2015.  Visit our website at JCPSC for membership information and upcoming events.  Like Potiphar, I will look for the potential in our staff  to nurture and guide them to be the best and like Joseph, I will work hard to be my own best self and serve the community.  

As we celebrate Hanukkah next week, I think about the candles glowing at night.  Each of us can be that candle with our work.  Work hard, enjoy what you do, and develop deeper partnerships so that everyone shines.  Happy Hanukkah!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Let the Light In - Lessons from Shabbat

It is a beautiful Shabbat morning in Los Angeles and as I sat in shul, I noticed the light coming in from the windows.  I forgot that most Shabbat mornings I sit in the main sanctuary of our shul without windows.  In fact, most rooms in our shul are without windows.  Today I enjoyed looking at the sunny skies and the trees outside.

I'm sure it also helped that our room today was packed with community members all sharing in the light of our teens who were reading Torah today.  My daughter and her friends (part of our shul's Torah Club) made us all proud today as they led us in this morning's service.  As one who only started appreciating the benefits of prayer as an adult, I was deeply moved and continue to be charmed when I see our teens take on this kind of beautiful community participation.

As our Rabbi shared thoughts about Jacob and the masks we wear, I found it the perfect conversation as our teens put forth their best self today with great skill.  I'm sure that years from now in either this shul or some other far away from home, they will find comfort in their ability to participate in any prayer service, in any synagogue with any community.  What a beautiful thought for a parent.

Perhaps I only noticed the light outside when it was the emotional light inside that was making the impact on me.  Today is my dad's birthday and he passed away five year ago.  My daughter read Torah today in his memory and it was the perfect celebration.

Shabbat Shalom and let us all make our best effort to "be the light."