I admit it. Most of my Jewish environmental career has been rather intellectual. I like to think about what the Torah says and I like to learn about our philosophical and scientific challenges. I like to apply new concepts to old problems – or old concepts to new problems – and see what the answers yield.
I don't have all that much experience as an event planner. But there is a leadership methodology that I think could help us win "hearts and minds" that have so far not been a part of our Jewish environmental movement. In our Jewcology grant, we requested the opportunity to organize leadership programs to demonstrate and model this type of leadership training – the public narrative training developed by Harvard professor Marshall Ganz (and originally suggested to me by Michael Hill of Dorot). I've spent much of the last few months organizing our first training, which will take place this weekend in Baltimore (as a bonus day to the Kayam Beit Midrash). And much of the last two weeks immersed in details like nametags, small group assignments, carpools, meal numbers, commuters vs. overnight guests.
They say that you get 80% of the work done in the first 20% of the time, but the last 20% takes 80% of your time. Ha. That's how my last two weeks have been! Detail after detail to make sure the event will run as smoothly as possible, G-d willing. It's been quite a learning experience for me! And I know there is still an unbelieveable amount out of my control. I hope that the training will be effective; I hope that the facilitators and participants will arrive on time. I've spent a lot of time writing lists and I hope I've covered everything. And at a certain point, I realize you have to simply let go and hope whatever happens will be for the best.
You know that UPS song about the joys of logistics? What is joyous is how everything seems to magically fall into place after all the work has been done. We should all be so lucky. After the last two weeks, I'm hoping and praying for that!