Celebrities Ethics Parenting Rabbis

In Response to Rabbi Shmuley and the Tiger Mom

I’m a rabbi and a parent. I try to be successful at both. I like to think that, in both endeavors, I strike a good balance between sticking to my principles and making compromises. When I make compromises, I try not to compromise my beliefs or standards, although it’s necessary to choose battles (in both parenting and rabbi’ing).

Two notable figures have been in the spotlight recently because of the advice they dished out — one to rabbis and the other to parents.

The ever-opinionated Shmuley Boteach, a celebrity rabbi, gave his advice to rabbis in a column originally written in the Jerusalem Post. In t

Dan Hotchkiss, writing for the Alban Institute in an article about authority and leadership, writes, “In olden times, we like to think, society accorded great authority to clergy. Whether or not this rosy generalization stands up to scrutiny (it does not), we mainstream clergy certainly have lost some of the cachet our counterparts enjoyed from 1945 to 1965 or so… I believe our loss of authority presents clergy with a great opportunity. Authority, appealing as it is, can also be confining.”

The opportunity for us lies in developing a new capacity for leadership. Ron Heifetz, in Leadership without Easy Answers, sheds light on the differences between authority and leadership, and suggests how by depending on authority less and learning to lead better, we can redevelop a more varied, robust, and disease-resistant strain of congregations in America.

Tiger Mom
A seminar leader in rabbinical school said something that has remained with me ever since. He said, “It’s important for rabbis to have principles, but it’s more important to know when to not be too principled.”