Posts Tagged ‘interfaith’


New Book Launch

Posted on: November 30th, 2016 by Hayim Herring

Launching Leading Congregations in a Connected World: Platforms, People and Purpose


My colleague, Dr. Terri Elton, Associate Professor Leadership at Luther Seminary and I, are thrilled to announce that Leading Congregations in a Connected World: Platform, People and Purpose, is now available. (Save 40% on all purchases for a limited time by using the code RL40LC16 when you order!) Are you curious about:

• How congregations and nonprofits are seeking to maintain community when it’s so fragile today?
• How spiritual and nonprofit communities can make decisions rapidly, thoughtfully and inclusively?
• How professional and volunteer leaders are navigating the tensions of being faithful stewards of their organizations’ traditions, and responsive leaders to the disruptive pace of innovation?

We were, too, so we researched fifteen Jewish and Lutheran congregations and nonprofit organizations throughout the United States (eleven congregations, four nonprofits). Some were established congregations and nonprofits that were becoming less hierarchical and more innovative. Others were start-ups that emerged at the dawn of social networks, are now adding more structure as they have grown, but don’t want to lose their entrepreneurial D.N.A. Whether old or new, they are navigating a paradigm shift in minimizing more cumbersome, hierarchical ways of working and fostering more fluid and creative networks to advance their missions.

We provide practical guidance to professional and volunteer leaders who view their organizations as platforms where people can find greater personal meaning by engaging with others who care about the same mission. We believe our book is unique as it:

• Bridges faith communities.
• Blends theory with tools, texts and hands-on resources.
• Combines research with lived stories of congregations and organizations.
• Addresses the desire of both established and newer organizations to deepen engagement with individuals, and transform their communities by redesigning how they are organized.


Several of our colleagues graciously shared their reactions to our book:

Allison Fine, co-author of, The Networked Nonprofit, and renowned expert on social networks and organizations noted, “One of the most pressing issues facing our society is the disruption of traditional organizations dedicated to our communal well-being; congregations and nonprofits. Herring and Elton have written a very important and practical book on a critical topic; how to restructure our most important institutions to match the urgency of working in a networked world.”

Peggy Hahn, Executive Director of LEAD, a national organization dedicated to growing Christian leaders, said that, “This book dares to link congregations and non-profit organizations in strategic conversations essential for thriving in a fast-changing world. This is a way forward.”

Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, co-founder, executive director of Mechon Hadar, and author of Empowered Judaism added that, “This book artfully breaks down the barriers that often exist between new and old non-profits. By taking a critical eye to both, the authors present findings untold in other books on congregational change, facilitating a powerful experience for the reader looking to reflect on organizational success.” (You can click here for additional reviews.)

Two years ago, we didn’t know one another. But we took leaps of faith (one Protestant, one Jewish) to collaborate on a significant project. The value of learning from a member of the same human family, but a different spiritual tribe, has been immeasurable. We hope that you’ll take a leap of faith, too, and not only purchase Leading Congregations in a Connected World: Platforms, People and Purpose, but try some discussion and innovation with someone from a different faith background in your own community! The dynamics of disruption and leadership responses are similar in Jewish and Protestant communities, so stay tuned for more news about how you can participate in a network of leaders interested in these issues. You can do so by connecting with Hayim (options for social media of your choice, top right) or connecting with Terri (,, @TerriElton).

Thank you,

Hayim Herring and Terri Martinson Elton

WorthRight Israel: Fund Interfaith Couples and Families Israel Trips

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014 by Hayim Herring


Imagine what would happen if funders created a variety of high-quality Israel trips that were free or heavily-subsidized for interfaith couples and families.


Question to funders and philanthropists: What about making a heavily subsidized trip to Israel available for interfaith couples and families? Here are the arguments for it:


“Israel-alienated” Jews constitute about 20% of the young Jewish population, to use Professor Steven Cohen’s term in a recent analysis he prepared for The Jewish Daily Forward. Not just hawkish Israeli government policies, but intermarriage also has emerged as an “indicator of alienation” from Israel.


Any rabbi or other educator who has taught an Introduction to Judaism class with non-Jewish learners knows that it’s impossible to give them the experience of pride, love and passion for Israel simply by talking about the Jewish state. They can experience a Shabbat or holiday meal locally, they can experience being a part of a Jewish family locally, but they can’t feel the complexity and depth of emotions about Israel from a classroom in the Diaspora.


Interfaith family in Israel


An Open Invitation to Chelsea and Marc

Posted on: August 8th, 2010 by Hayim Herring

I do not know Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton or any members of their families. But I am puzzled by the vast amounts of digital deliberations in the Jewish blogosphere about their wedding, and the relative absence of attention to their ongoing relationship with the Jewish community now that they are married. If I did know them, here is what I would say:

Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Dear Marc and Chelsea,

Mazel tov…you are now legally married! While some are still obsessing about the details of your wedding, I am much more interested in what the future holds for you as a married couple… Both of you, in a public and proud way, drew upon the symbols of your respective faith traditions. I don’t presume to know what conversations you’ve had or decisions you’ve made about involvement in a religious community. But I hope that you will want to explore participation in some aspect of your local Jewish community and respectfully want to invite you to do so…

For the full text of this letter, visit the JTA website at (Op-Ed section) or click on this link:

Rabbi Hayim Herring, Ph.D., is President and C.E.O. of Herring Consulting Network, a firm which specializes in “preparing today’s leaders for tomorrow’s organizations.™”

I wasn’t expecting to have to hear about the trauma of the trip over the phone.  Hearing Ruby’s distress over the phone was quite upsetting.  I was having a great time cleaning and stuff!  I knew it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk.  Charles was even hesitating a few days ago and I said maybe you shouldn’t go. He was thinking about the fact that his mom is so annoying and stupid and his sister cheated his mom, essentially, out of more than $100,000 by paying that much less for the house than it’s worth.
Another interesting thing (I know you’re fascinated,) when I wryly said it did kind of hurt my feelings a little bit that they really didn’t want me to come, he started saying again how Fitz could ride in the back and stuff, like we could change our plans and I could come.   As if!  Grady is afraid of Fitz, it would be awful for them both.  It’s already awful for Grady, probably, and Fitz was pretty concerned when they were hauling out duffel bags and things.  He knew something was up.  We’ve been bonding a lot lately, though, because I do his grooming and he enjoys it.  I do too, he’s really such a great dog.  I never said I wasn’t fond of him, you know, it’s just that we didn’t have the time and energy and ability to take care of him properly.
Which reminds me, Grady asked who’s going to take care of the dog, like I couldn’t handle it.