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Orthodox Conundrum

Jul 31, 2023

Many people are troubled by what appears to be a dearth of moral leadership in the Jewish world in general, and in the Orthodox world in particular. Of course, no one is asserting that there are no admirable leaders; rather, in addtion to these good leaders, there are too many leaders who are incompetent, cowardly, selfish, or immoral.

For that reason, Scott was honored to talk with Dr. Erica Brown about whether this common impression is right, what constitutes good leadership according to Jewish sources, and how such leaders are cultivated. They discussed why there are different models of leadership in Jewish texts; some examples of leaders in Tanach including Yosef, Moshe, Rut, Esther, and Kohelet; what’s often called imposter syndrome; the importance of identifying talent and whether this involves favoritism; introverted versus extroverted leadership; the problem when institutional leadership protects itself rather than the people it ostensibly represents; rabbinic scandals and those who enable bad behavior; "protexia" and nepotism; the dangers of charismatic leadership; and much more.

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Music: "Happy Rock" by