JPRO Honors Rabbi Zarren-Zohar
Posted on 06/02/2023 @ 05:00 AM
This Thursday, JPRO Miami, our local Jewish professional’s organization, honored CAJE’s Executive Director Rabbi Efrat Zarren-Zohar with the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dror Gershoni, the Chief Operating Officer of the Michael-Ann Russell JCC, received the Rabbi Solomon Schiff Jewish Communal Professional of Excellence Award as well.
Paul Frishman, Executive Director of the Miami Beach JCC and Chair of JPRO Miami, welcomed everyone to the sold out tribute luncheon, and introduced President and CEO of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation Jacob Solomon, who spoke about the importance of supporting and networking Jewish professionals.
After Dror received his honor, Lily Serviansky, Federation’s Campaign Chair and a past President of CAJE, was invited to present the award to Rabbi Efrat and below are some highlights of what she said:
"It is my honor to be here and present this incredible award to Rabbi Efrat Zarren- Zohar. We all know that she has spent almost her entire career in Jewish Educational leadership.
Rabbi Efrat is an effective leader that brings out the best in her team and inspires them to achieve challenging goals.
A good example of this is the 2019 Covenant Award that CAJE was accorded for implementing the Teen Department’s Kavannah Coaching initiative. This award is very prestigious and not easy to obtain.
Rabbi Efrat has been the executive director of CAJE since 2016. During all these years, she has distinguished herself and is admired and beloved by her peers as this award demonstrates.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of blessed memory spoke about the seven principles of Jewish leadership.
Principle 1: Leadership begins with taking responsibility
At the heart of Judaism are three beliefs: We are free, we are responsible, and together we can change the world.
Rabbi Efrat exemplifies these beliefs by her teaching and her commitment to changing the world through education. She is not afraid of taking responsibility and she inspires others with her leadership.
Principle2: No one can lead alone
Leadership is an emergent property of multiple roles and perspectives. You can ask anyone who has worked along with Rabbi Efrat, either as a professional or lay leader- she is a team builder and takes pride in everyone’s achievements.
Another example of how she is valued and how she does not shy away from the responsibility to lead is the fact she was chosen by her peers to serve as co-chair of the Association for the Directors of Central Agencies 2022-2024.
Principle 3: Leadership is about the future
Before you can lead, you must have a vision of the future and be able to communicate it to others.
Rabbi Efrat understands the importance of the survival of the Jewish people through education and lifelong learning. She is at the forefront of many national Jewish education organizations where the future of education is developed and strategized.
For instance, she has been invited to the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge retreat sponsored by the Mayberg Foundation for the past two years because they recognize her leadership.
Principle 4 and 5: Leaders learn and Leadership means believing in the people you lead
Study is what makes a difference between the statesman and the politician, between the transformative leader and the manager.
Rabbi Efrat excels at elevating herself and others through study and by providing opportunities for growth. She is also great at learning from those who work under her.
She is family to the people she leads-- loyal, supportive and believes in the potential that we all have within us.
Principle 6: Leadership involves a sense of timing and pace
Leadership involves a delicate balance between impatience and patience. Go too fast and people resist and rebel. Go too slow and they become complacent. Transformation takes time!
Rabbi Efrat understands this delicate balance… but is not always successful at the patience part. Her passion is so strong that she wants everyone to think, develop, create and act at her speed. It is not always possible to keep up with her, but that doesn’t slow her down, not even for a minute.
Principle 7: Leadership is stressful and emotionally demanding
Any of us who has been involved in leadership roles understands this very well. Efrat gives 100% of herself; she never rests until she finishes a project and she knows no limits to her commitment.
I would like to close with a quote of Rabbi Sacks:
To defend a country, you need an army, but to defend a civilization, you need education
Rabbi Efrat, you are a respected general among your peers, among your army of Jewish educators, and for all of us who have the privilege of working with you. We are in in awe of your accomplishments and will continue to support you in your mission of advancing education in our community.”
Many thanks to Joy Prevor, Director of Federation’s Elevate Leadership program, and her team who organized the luncheon and made sure everything went successfully.
Thank you to our wonderful cadre of Jewish professionals for all you do to make our Jewish community so great!
Mazal Tov to Rabbi Efrat from the CAJE Team!