Shul lay leaders from throughout the Greater New York area gathered in downtown Manhattan this past March for a day of skill building and leadership training. The seminar, organized by Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen, OU Regional Director for Synagogues, Manhattan, Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut, in coordination with Rabbi Sion Setton, Chair of the Downtown Vaad, featured two distinguished thought leaders: Dr. Erica Brown and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. Rabbi Setton also serves as Rabbi of Congregation Magen David of Manhattan (CMDM), which hosted the seminar.
Dr. Brown opened the seminar with a riveting session entitled “Dealing with Difficult People,” which included text study, role-play and exercises. Participants then headed to NYU for a “leadership discussion” between Rabbi Sacks and Dr. Brown, organized by the Vaad and co-sponsored by the OU. The wide-ranging talk touched upon presidential politics, the millennial generation, building community, sense of self and sources for models of leadership.
Participating congregations included The Jewish Center on the Upper West Side, Young Israel of White Plains, Young Israel of Harrison, The West Side Jewish Center, Congregation Shearith Israel (the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue), Young Israel of Stamford, Congregation Agudath Sholom of Stamford, and Congregation Mt. Sinai Anshe Emeth of Washington Heights. The Downtown Vaad, created three years ago, is comprised of a number of shuls seeking to build a more cohesive community in downtown Manhattan.