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Benjamin Rosenberg writes about his involvement with Hillel of Metro Detroit’s newest initiative, Leadership Lab.

What does leadership mean in a Jewish way? How is leadership affected by Jewish values? I had the opportunity to help answer these questions and more with the planning of Hillel of Metro Detroit’s newest initiative, Leadership Lab. 

This four-part series was a virtual, interactive program to further train student leaders at Hillel of Metro Detroit. Along with Leah Berman, I helped plan this opportunity for students to enhance their leadership skills. Each session had a different topic. 

Benjamin Rosenberg
Benjamin Rosenberg

The first session was about engagement. One activity to teach active listening was called “4 in 1.” We were split into breakout rooms and each group had to find four things they had in common, and one thing that was unique to each person. This activity taught us to really listen to one another.

The second session was on program planning, where we were able to design our own programs and then vote on our favorite, which HMD would implement with the students. I really enjoyed when we split up and created a hypothetical program for Hillel to run. It helped me understand all the time, work, money and coordination that goes into planning even the simplest of programs. 

Session three was led by Rabbi Michele Faudem on leadership and Jewish values. Rabbi Faudem presented Torah text for us to discuss that illustrated positive leadership characteristics such as taking responsibility, the courage not to conform, leaders make mistakes, power vs. influence and humility.

The final session was led by Yiftah, the shaliach at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. We discussed current events in Israel and Israeli politics. This session opened my eyes to similarities in politics between Israel and the U.S.

I came into this lab believing that I knew almost everything about leadership and was fully capable; however, this lab taught me so much more, including how Judaism has a connection to how we lead, as well as how to thoroughly plan programs.

Benjamin Rosenberg is a third-year student at Wayne State University studying Sports Management.