Frankel Retreat, April 2019 with Rabbi Susan Leider

Our students Netanel Olhoeft and Hennadij Valigura in engaged discussion at the Frankel Retreat. Photo: Tobias Barniske.

In April this year, Rabbi Susan Leider travelled to us from Jerusalem, where she was on a five-month sabbatical from her role as Senior rabbi at Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon, California. Ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, she partnered with Zacharias Frankel College and the Institute for Jewish Spirituality for a mini-retreat.

During her time with the students, she discussed what has been missing from mainstream Jewish life that led many Jews to seek spiritual nourishment outside of Judaism.  What resources exist within Judaism that might be brought into Jewish life to engage, excite and more deeply connect Jews to their own souls, to God and to the world?  While Rabbi Leider and the students focused on these resources and explored them together, they also percolated these practices through a leadership lense as the asked:  What are the flaws in the popular image of a “leader”?  How do these flaws end up undermining effective leadership?  And what can be done to counteract them?  The group studied Hasidic texts, prayed, meditated, sang, talked and examined their hearts to discover how they will answer these questions to become more mindful leaders, transforming Jewish life today.

Rabbi Susan Leider (center) with students at the Frankel Retreat. Photo: Tobias Barniske.