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Explore the complexity of Jewish women’s leadership Feb. 18


Writer, educator and former director of the Jewish Leadership Institute, Erica Brown shares Hebrew Bible views on women’s leadership at The Leadership Lectures on Feb. 18.

Erica BrownErica Brown doesn’t take the easy way out when speaking on women’s leadership, particularly Jewish women’s leadership. Rather, she tackles the complexity of this multi-faceted subject.

“I think it’s important to be wary of saying that there is a Jewish view of female leadership, as if it is singular and not as rich and textured as it is,” says the writer, educator and former director of the Jewish Leadership Institute. “We find so many different models of female leadership in the Bible because there is not one narrative or one style that can encompass half the human race. We have to celebrate and encourage that complexity.”

Brown will share what the Hebrew Bible teaches about women’s leadership in her presentation “Nurturing Women’s Leadership: An Intimate View from the Hebrew Bible.” Her lecture, part of the 2013-14 Leadership Lectures series, is on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. at the MARC Pavilion on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus. The speaker will offer insight for established as well as prospective leaders, of all faiths.

The Leadership Lectures, now in its third year, are presented by FIU’s Center for Leadership with generous support from Mercantil Commercebank. The series features world-class, accomplished and influential leaders with expertise ranging from business and philanthropy to public service and academic research.

In addition to what the Hebrew Bible shows about women’s leadership, Brown will share her unique perspective from years of in-depth involvement with the Jewish perspective including serving as scholar-in-residence for The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. She also consults for the Jewish Agency and other Jewish non-profits, writes a monthly column for The New York Jewish Week, and is a prolific author. Her latest books are Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death and Leadership in the Wilderness: Authority and Anxiety in the Book of Numbers.

“While I do not believe that men and women have different styles of leadership because of a genetic predisposition, I do believe that women today are more collaborative in their leadership and better positioned to be excellent listeners who want to bring people together,” she says. “This can be a liability. Women who want to lead on the most senior levels have to learn how to lean in, privilege their own instincts at times above others, and not be afraid to initiate change because they care too much about consensus.”

Brown was a Jerusalem Fellow, is a faculty member of the Wexner Foundation, an Avi Chai Fellow, winner of the Ted Farber Professional Excellence Award, recipient of the 2009 Covenant Award for her work in education, and winner of the 2011 Bernie Reisman Award for Jewish Communal Service. She holds degrees from Yeshiva University, University of London, Harvard University and Baltimore Hebrew University.

The Leadership Lectures are free and open to the public but require registration. To register for Brown’s presentation – co-sponsored by the Program in the Study of Spirituality, Jewish Studies Initiatives and Women’s Studies Program, and FIU College of Arts and Sciences – click here.

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