Janet Malki: CBB Leadership Institute

When I first was contacted by Jill Feldman and Ashley Goldstein to participate in the CBB Irving and Marlyn Berstein Leadership Institute (LI) via Zoom,  I was hesitant for a variety of reasons. You know the excuses: time commitment, not being able to meet in person, concerns about future requests to participate on committees and events, being one of the older ( ok, I will be honest – the oldest) participants, not feeling like I was “leadership” material, etc.

However, I was also worried that I would be the only Republican in the group and how would that play out? I didn’t want my political view to define me yet I wanted to be open and honest. After speaking to Deborah Naish who helped facilitate the course along with Aaron Ettenberg, I felt reassured that this would not be a barrier, it could actually be a growing opportunity for myself as well as my fellow LI attendees.

From delving into the history of CBB, interviewing past CBB leaders, listening, and learning from our board president, rabbis, cantor, administrator/staff it truly gave me an appreciation of how much effort goes into running a vibrant, living, growing Jewish community.

I gained a perspective and respect for my other LI attendees. We were given assignments, discussed Jewish ethics (what would Moses do?), and learned about our own innate biases which can impact decisions on crucial board/synagogue issues. My fellow LI participants are smart, hard-working, multi-tasking, passionate young “up and coming” leaders of CBB. We are fortunate to have them not only in our synagogue but also as representatives of our Santa Barbara community.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have participated in the LI with the professional, insightful, probing, and supportive guidance of Deborah Naish and Aaron Ettenberg.

When the Jewish people join hands in collective responsibility they become a formidable force for good. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (Bechukotei 5774)