Managing Controversy: A Conversation with Rabbi Joy Levitt and Rabbi Sharon Brous Moderated by Richa
Both Rabbi Joy Levitt and Rabbi Sharon Brous are pioneering Jewish professional leaders who have catapulted their respective institutions, the JCC in Manhattan and IKAR in Los Angeles, into pre-eminent creative centers of American Jewish life. Both have been selected by Newsweek’s Daily Beast as being among the 50 top rabbis in America and by the Forward as being among the 50 most influential American Jews.
Neither has been afraid of taking strong positions, and as a consequence, their careers have generated both accolades, as well as controversy. As an example, in 2010 Joy received both national attention and severe criticism as an outspoken supporter of the proposed Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero. “They came to us because they felt the values we represented – diversity, dialogue, the education of children – were values they wanted to espouse.
And just last year, Sharon was publicly attacked in The Times of Israel by Rabbi Daniel Gordis who accused her of betraying Israel for writing: “However you feel about the wisdom and timing of Israel’s response to the Hamas threat, the people of Israel need our strong support and solidarity. At the same time, supporting Israel’s right to protect and defend itself does not diminish the reality that the Palestinian people are also children of God, whose suffering is real and undeniable.”
Joy and Sharon will be discussing the strategies that they have used to address these and other controversies that they have encountered in the course of their careers, as well as their efforts to create a space where civil Jewish public discourse can take place.
Richard Siegel is the director of the HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management.
RSVP to Mikaela Landis at email@example.com or 213-765-2117.
Co-sponsored by the HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (SJNM) and the Jewish Communal Professionals of Southern California (JCPSC).