Monday, June 11, 2012

Rabbi Jonathan Gross for VP in 2012

I am a member of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) a professional organization that includes over 1,000 Orthodox Rabbis from around the world, mostly in North America.
In the next two weeks the RCA will be holding annual elections and I will be running for the position of Vice President in Charge of the Midwest Region.  
I love being a Rabbi and I love the Rabbi business.  I want to win this election because I have a vision for what the RCA can be and I feel that by joining the leadership I can move the organization towards that vision.

I am running with a number of other candidates who also want to take active leadership roles in the RCA. 
Members can vote for ANY of the candidates that they choose.  You can vote for individual candidates OR for the whole slate.  It is NOT all or nothing.

Some of the other candidates I know well, others I have recently met, and some I have not yet met.  We all have differing views on a variety of issues and have different areas that we would like to focus on.  These are the issues that I feel are the most important and will work on if elected.

1. Election Reform:
Contentious elections are not a sign of divisiveness, they are a sign of vibrancy!  In a relevant organization there are a variety of talented people with differing views vying for positions of leadership.  Currently the next leadership is chosen by the prevailing leadership.  Rabbis are expected to "wait their turn" to be "rotated" into officer slots. 
This is my second time running for office and each time, despite popular support from my peers and careful adherence to the rules in our bylaws, there have been unreasonable obstacles placed in the way of those who want to run for office without the endorsement of the prevailing leadership.
This is OUR RCA and all members should have equal opportunity to run for office!

2. Membership Engagement
The current RCA leadership hosted a membership wide conference call that attracted almost 20 percent of our membership.  This was in direct response to the opposition candidates.  Leadership should be taking a proactive role -  not a reactive role - in engaging membership.  There should be regular conference calls and our regular e-mails and news letters should offer the membership real transparency into the governance of the organization. 
Members need to be regularly updated on important developments in the RCA!

3. Conventions
The annual convention was at one time a major event that Rabbis traveled from all over to attend.  Today most Rabbis will only attend the conference if it is local, and then only the one or two sessions that appeal to them.  It is not that Rabbis have stopped attending conferences.  On the contrary, there are more conferences for Rabbis to attend than ever before.  Rabbis are choosing to attend conferences of other organizations at the expense of the RCA conference.
Serious focus must be placed on making the RCA conference competitive with other conferences and attracting our members!

4. Broader Engagement
Only Rabbis are allowed to be members of the RCA, but I believe that the greater community has an interest and a right to know what the Rabbis are discussing.  Press releases are not an effective way to communicate.  We can reach our constituency through social media in a way that can engage them in our discussions of controversial issues. 
The RCA needs to be more relevant to the people that our Rabbis serve!

5. The Economy Stupid
The most important function of the RCA is to support its members.  Many of our members are feeling the effects of the down economy.  Fewer positions are opening up as other positions are being eliminated.  There are resources to help Rabbis who are unemployed and underemployed, most obvious is networking, passing resumes along, and creating opportunities to expose fellow members to further opportunities. 
In hard times we must do everything possible to help fellow Rabbis in need!

Those are the areas that I intend to focus on.  I have ideas of my own, but if elected I want to hear your ideas as well.  I want to know what is important to you and see if we can work together to make things happen.

If you are an RCA member, when you go to vote, please consider me and some of my other fellow candidates listed on our website

Working together we can make a relevant and strong RCA that continues to fulfil its mission of promoting and beautifying the Torah.