Synagogue in Portugal
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In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the World Union of Orthodox Synagogues and Communities, together with `two Israeli NGO’s with experience in education and community development– Mahut Israel and Aseh Lecha Rav – are offering an intensive, online, three-hour, mini-seminar for rabbis and community leaders scheduled for the afternoons of Sunday and Monday.

The mini-seminar will deal with the following topics:

• Session One: Introduction to “Community resilience” (“hosen kehilati”). Understanding the three interrelated dimensions of strengthening cohesion and resilience – the community, its capacities, and the sense of identity.

Primary Task: Examining the role of the community leader in building resilience for individuals and the community as a whole.

• Session Two: Understanding the principles of communal behavior and the role of community leaders during times of crisis.

Primary Task: acquiring practical skills and knowledge needed to effectively lead and manage our communities during a long-term crisis.

Each of the two 90-minute sessions will include theory, case studies and role-playing scenarios that require a leadership response from the rabbi or communal leader. Seminar faculty will also be available to program participants for follow-up counseling and support regarding specific challenging events in their particular communities.

In addition to the mini-seminar on community cohesion, Aseh Lecha Rav is also offering a weekly online study and discussion seminar with Rabbi Shabtai Rappaport, shlit’a, focusing on the many unprecedented halachic questions that have arisen as a result of the corona crisis.

David Ben Naeh, Chairman of World Union of Synagogues and Communities, explained in a statement, "The State of Israel, together with the rest of the global community, is coping with the crisis wrought by the coronavirus. Many Jewish communities have been directly and indirectly challenged on multiple fronts – health, family life, educational institutions and the ongoing management of a long-term crisis. These factors are likely to grow and multiply in the foreseeable future, and pose an unprecedented challenge for communal and spiritual leaders."

"The manner in which communal leaders understand their roles and responsibilities at such times of crisis directly affects the lives of the members of our communities Effective, proactive and responsible leadership can make a great contribution to maintaining a cohesive and resilient community by reducing anxieties and fear and creating an atmosphere of trust and solidarity."