Seven Core Practices of Jewish Adaptive Leadership

The professional and volunteer leadership at Na’aleh draw strength from our Jewish traditions, insights from our own experiences, and wisdom from the field of leadership. Integrating these together, we have discovered the core practices of Jewish Adaptive Leadership.

We share these with you and promise to help you learn these core practices, which all professionals and volunteers can use to make a difference in service to their organizations, our community, and the world.


01. Cultivate Your Unique Strengths (Mussar)

Leadership begins with you. It involves marshalling your character strengths – such as compassion, courage, curiosity, gratitude, humility, integrity, and wisdom – in service of our community. Like all disciplines (such as yoga, sports, and art), you can develop these character strengths through practice and reflection. In Judaism, this personal work is called Mussar and our character strengths are Middot.

Discover how to Develop Your Leadership Strengths.


02. Nurture Your Relationships (Chavruta)

Leadership is a relational activity. It involves deepening and relying upon those relationships we have with other professionals and volunteers that promote mutual support, shared discovery, and constructive reflection. It includes the ability to have difficult conversations. The Jewish practice of dialogue (chavruta) offers a powerful way to learn this art of relationship-building.


03. Awaken to the Web of Connections (Hit’orerut)

Leadership involves seeing the whole. It requires that you become aware of the complex and evolving systems in which you live and work, and the ways in which these connections and cultures influence how you act in the world. This may include network analysis, systems-thinking, and landscape mapping. The Jewish practices of gratitude can attune yourself to the whole of which you are a part.


04. Open Yourself to Sacred Purpose (K’dushah)

Leadership demands deep and clear purpose. It involves knowing why you want to lead and building common purpose among those with whom you co-lead. In our Jewish tradition, leadership is grounded in our People’s purpose to heal the world. It asks you to open yourself up (through mindfulness practices) and ally yourself to those opportunities for healing that are emergent in the world.


05. Build Enduring Partnerships (Brit)

Leadership is a collaborative endeavor grounded in difference. Successful collaborations bring together people with different purposes, perspectives, and passions. Thus, forming and fulfilling collaborative partnerships is challenging. We need to learn ways of gathering that create brave spaces for engaging in open dialogue and coming to shared commitments. In Judaism, we call this forming a brit (or covenant).

Explore Ways to Embrace Diversity


06. Design Creative Solutions (Yotzer)

Leadership is a creative activity. The foundation of creativity is the ability to see the world differently. It involves learning a discipline, such as design thinking, that demands patience, practice, and persistence. Leading creatively requires a belief that everyone has something vital to contribute. In our Jewish texts, we recall the building of the Tabernacle, in which all were asked to bring their unique gifts.


07. Lead with Your Whole Self (Manhigut)

Leadership involves the whole self. It requires that you show up with authenticity (alignment of mind, heart, body, and soul) and integrity (consistency across situations). In our Jewish tradition, leadership is not separate from who you are. You lead through the example of your character – from how you treat others with compassion to how you inspire others through your courage.