What Synagogue Leaders Can Learn from Yitro

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I have always been fascinated by characters in the Torah and the leadership lessons we can learn from them. Many of the most prominent personalities such as Abraham, Moses, Joseph and Jacob get much of the attention. However, I have always been very interested in Yitro, Moses’s father-in-law, the high priest of Midian who brings Moses’s family to the Jewish camp in the desert after the crossing of the sea and the battle with Amalek (maybe my interest was initially piqued because Yitro was the name of my Bar Mitzvah portion). In one section, Yitro observes Moses spending day and night judging the people. He becomes very concerned and shares his concerns with his son-in-law. What ensues is a fascinating interaction which gives us several wonderful lessons for synagogue and nonprofit leaders. Below is the text of the interaction (italics), followed by my interpretations.

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