Communicating is a huge part of ensuring a successful synagogue's culture. It can be anything from one-on-one interactions, to our communication by mail, our e-mails and our postings on Facebook.
This is being written at the Rabbinical Assembly conference in Baltimore on "Leading Through Communications." The conference for Conservative rabbis is focusing on how we communicate in our synagogues today. We were exposed to new methods for improving our connecting through messages like this, my sermons on Shabbat, and the more interpersonal one-on-one communications with each of you.
In my opinion the most relevant sessions were on social media. In particular we examined Facebook and how we can best utilize it to communicate with you about what is happening at the synagogue. We also discussed how we can use our Agudas Facebook page to generate conversations as well. Be on the lookout as we work on engaging each of you through our communications even more than we already have been doing.
Our Torah portion, Korach, personifies a lack of communication. Korach leads a group of 250 people who choose to challenge Moses' and Aaron's leadership. They simply want to overthrow Moses and Aaron as the leaders rather than communicating and having a real conversation about how conditions, in their opinion, could have been improved. It is this lack of desire to sit down and get to know each other's issues better that ultimately dooms Korach and his followers as they are swallowed up by quicksand at the hand of God.
How often in our own lives do we jump to conclusions, become angry with a person or group of people without taking the time to understand their side of the issue? What we can learn from this week's Torah portion, as well as one of the major takeaways of my conference, is that we must always have the lines of communication open. Judaism prides itself as being a religion where we are allowed to have machlochet, disagreements. Nevertheless, we are told that they must be machlochet l'shem shamayim,disagreements for Heaven's sake. Just as we concluded a hotly contested mayoral race here in San Antonio, and as the presidential candidates begin to come out of the woodwork, we must remember that it is OK to disagree with one another and at times even spar with each other. However, we must remember to both disagree respectfully and to always attempt to understand the other's opinion. This way we will build and grow our community as one which opens the lines of communication and engages with one another L'shem Shamayim, for Heaven's sake.
Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham