Thank you to Temple De Hirsch Sinai for sharing these two thoughtful surveys with the Darim community. These surveys show the value of a clear, community focused cover letter, that articulates how the leadership values community input, and what will be done with the input given. Temple De Hirsch Sinai followed up these surveys by mirroring back what they learned to the community, and sharing the amazingly high response rate.
Brit Lashon HaTov originally was written by Congregation B’nai Jeshurun (New York City) under the guidance of Rabbi Felicia Sol. Their goal, and ours, is to foster the kind of constructive communication that will truly enable our shul to be a Kehillah Kedoshah: a sacred community. Specifically, this covenant addresses an aspiration that we (like our brothers and sisters at B’nai Jeshurun – "thoughtful, creative, committed, sometimes boisterous, and often opinionated") speak, write, meet, email, and phone each other in ways that demonstrate tolerance and respect.
"Everyone is created in G!d's Image." (Genesis 1:27)
* Invite and encourage everyone's participation.
* Assume the best intentions on the part of your listener.
* Do not engage in lashon hara – gossip, rumor mongering, slander.
"Everyone has a place in the Torah." (Sefat Emet on Parashat Bamidar)
* Seek to understand others' opinions before yours is understood.
* Work to gain insights from views other than your own.
"Disagree for the sake of Heaven." (Pirke Avot 5:19)
* Seek to clarify misunderstandings productively.
* Ask a factual question to determine if your assumptions are correct before deciding there is a problem.
* Treat your conversational partner as you would want to be treated.
"There is a time to keep silent and a time to speak." (Ecclesiastes 3:7)
* Greet questions with a moment of silence to give everyone ample time to formulate a thoughtful response.
* Communicate your own thoughts and speak for yourself, not for other people.
* Understand the roles and responsibilities that congregants, staff and rabbis have in a particular matter so there is real clarity about who is responsible for making a decision.
* Seek to understand when it is time to keep silent.
"Words are powerful" (Proverbs 18:21)
* Appreciate the spirit and passion of our community as it is reflected in diverse opinions.
* Strive towards listening and hearing each other as members of a holy community–
- In public meetings;
- In community forms;
- In havurot;
- In classes;
- In email;
- On the phone;
- At Temple; and
- V'al kol Yisrael, v'al kol yoshvei teyvel.
Although we strive to keep this covenant, sometimes we fall short. We try to recognize those times and apologize to those we have harmed. We try again. We are human.
Links to Blogs of Darim members and others*
JewPoint0: Darim Online's blog
http://rabbilarrybach.wordpress.com/ (thoughts, divrei torah and other news from Rabbi Bach)
http://brjc.blogspot.com/ (includes embedded videos, divrei torah, book club discussions, etc.)
http://cszpolandisrael.blogspot.com/ (Travel blog for synagogue trip to Poland and Israel)
jlearn2.0: Jewish learning in a digital world
*Not here? Email us and let us know your address; we'll add you to our list!
http://jugglingsheep.blogspot.com/ (personal productivity for pastors)
http://jrf.org/ (Jewish Reconstructist Federation)
http://jcarrot.org/ (The Jew and the Carrot (by Hazon))