For the past nine months I’ve participated in a program called Leadership Richardson. It’s run by the chamber of commerce to train the next generation of leaders. Many of our city’s elected officials and non-profit board members came through this program before being chosen for their positions. In the program, we develop skills and form relationships that will keep our city running well.
When the Executive Director of the program, Kim Quirk, recruited participants at the Richardson Interfaith Alliance I was intrigued. She explained that the program was looking to diversify and include people of all ethnicities and faiths. The leaders of Richardson see inclusion as a crucial component in our city’s growth and prosperity. When I applied, I shared my needs to honor the Sabbath and keep kosher. Kim and my fellow participants were accommodating and supportive. It created an opportunity for me to share with others what it means to be an observant Jew, as well as learn about my classmates’ cultures and beliefs.
Leadership and Alliances in the City
But this program was more than an opportunity for cultural understanding. You may be asking why this program is beneficial to Beth Torah and it’s rabbi. Our synagogue is an organism in a much larger ecosystem. Understanding and participating in the city that surrounds our synagogue allows us to take advantage of all the incredible opportunities the city has to offer as well as form alliances and give back to this municipality that is our home.
I have learned about our city’s governance, health care system, arts and culture, public education, business community, social services, and public safety. I’ve gotten to know past, current, and future leaders in Richardson. It’s helped me envision some exciting partnerships. For example, Beri and I are organizing a 5K run as a fundraiser. We’ve decided that the race will be more successful if Network Ministries, a social service organization, is a co-beneficiary. Network Ministries has cared for the needy since 1985, and many of Richardson’s houses of worship and non-profits raise funds for and volunteer with Network Ministries. Sharing the proceeds with a beloved organization in our community will be a way we can give back to our city as well as a way to broaden the pool of corporate sponsorships, participants and publicity opportunities we need to make the event successful.
If you are a resident of Richardson, or work within the city’s borders, you are eligible for the program. I highly recommend participating if you have a vision for how you can contribute to the community. Please let me know if you would like more information about this wonderful opportunity.