I recently had the opportunity to revisit an entry I submitted for a bio book, a document that was shared at a staff retreat two years ago. Everyone on the staff was asked to write a page or two about themselves, to give colleagues an opportunity to learn a little bit more about teammates in a more personal way. A way removed from work. A way that would inform our colleagues not only about who we are now, but also how we became who we are now.

In reading my bio book entry now, I realize that I wrote my entry after we had launched our Yammer network, but before I had begun my deeply meaningful exploration of Working Out Loud.

Though I had yet to be exposed to the Working Out Loud concepts of Relationships, Generosity, Visibility, Purposeful Discovery and a Growth Mindset, I think they are all present in my bio book in one way or another. Reading my bio book, I get a sense not only of where I have been, but also where I would go. I am reminded of how the seemingly small steps and actions taken by my family generations before me have brought me to where I am now. I am reminded of my teachers, my mentors, my friends and my family. All of whom have influenced me, guided me and supported me, and I can

If you were to write a page long biography about yourself, what would you learn? How might your life experience forecast your future efforts and accomplishments?


I am sitti􏰀ng at the head of a long table. I look ahead, and the table stretches out as far as the eye can see. I see generations of family. I see childhood friends, and colleagues from my different jobs through the years. I see people I have helped, and I see people who have helped me. There is a complicated web of lines that connect everyone, and all lines connect to me at the head of the table.

I am here only because of them.

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Aron Marx. Union soldier, future Cleveland police and truant officer.

My great, great grandfather, Aron Marx fought for the Union army during the Civil War, and we are told he was the first Jewish police officer in Cleveland, OH. His grandson Sylvester Marx, my grandfather, dedicated himself to Judaism as a teenag􏰂er after his parents became members of a Chris􏰁tian Science church in 1915. He belonged to The Temple in Cleveland unti􏰁l his death in 1984. His son Robert became a rabbi. His daughter Harriet married Ron Glickman. We belonged to Congrega􏰁on Solel, and I make my very best friends in our temple youth group.

I am here because of them.

On the occasion of the birth of my oldest daughter, I choose to become an adult Bar Mitzvah at Congrega􏰁tion BJBE, because I grew up at a congregation􏰁 that did not have a strong B’nai Mitzvah culture. I am in a class of 12 older ladies and myself. BJBE rabbi Mark Shapiro asks me to be the advisor of their youth group. I say no. The rabbi asks me again. I say no again. The rabbi asks my wife. She says yes on my behalf. I fall in love with the work, and I am the BJBE youth group advisor for almost 10 years. My youth group kids learn from me, and I learn from them. Together we travel, we engage in Tikkun Olam, and we help our congregations􏰁on. Many of them are amazing Jewish leaders today.

I am here because of them.

On a cold day in January, 2002 I no􏰁tice a problem with my vision. By the end of the day, I learn that I have suffered a stroke. By the end of the day, I also learn that I have been let go from my job of nine years in the publishing industry. The company published cookbooks, car magazines and general interest books. I was asked to help edit a massive book about the Holocaust. I manage the crea􏰁tion of a companion website recrea􏰁ting every page, word and image of the book. Reeling from the financial impact of the 9/11 att􏰃acks, the CEO of the company sends the director of HR to my office a􏰂fter learning of my stroke to tell me I no longer have a job.

I am here because of them.

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Sophie and Eliana Glickman, 2010

My father has always been a passionate member and leader of congregati􏰁ons. My brother Mark, who found a true home at our temple and OSRUI, became a rabbi in 1991. Though my younger brother Jimmy does not embrace Jewish life as many others in our family do, but through him I learn life lessons about friendship, commitment and humor. I met Lynn, who would become my wife, in 1988. Spending 􏰁time with her and her family we celebrate Shabbat, we att􏰃end services at BJBE and I find myself connected to new family and new community. Other family members are rabbis, Jewish professionals and lay leaders. My daughters Eliana and Sophie love temple, and find new homes at camp and NFTY. My cousin Daniel a􏰃ttends Beit Teshuvah to address ongoing addic􏰁tion struggles, struggles he succumbs to in 2005. My niece Libby is in her first year at HUC. My nephew Jacob is a youth group advisor.

I am here because of them.

Rabbi Steve Denker hires me as executive director of Kol Ami, a small 200 household congregation in 2003. That year, I am introduced to Ed Alpert, a mentor and friend still to this day. 80 year old Holocaust survivor Angela grabs my hand to show me all the ritual objects she has donated to Kol Ami through the years. I join NATA, and connect to other E.D.’s na􏰁tionwide. Rabbi Steve Hart welcomes me as executive director of Temple Chai, a 1,000 household congrega􏰁tion. 3 year old Lital insists on dancing with me every 􏰁time she is in the building. Karen hugs me, thankful for her dues reduction. To this day, Don won’t shake my hand, because of a leadership decision I had to make.

I am here because of them.

Barbara Saidel meets me through NATA, hires me to launch The Tent at the URJ in 2013. Today I report to Amy Asin, and I am honored to work with some of the smartest, most generous people I know. Through our work, people connect, learn and strengthen their congrega􏰁tions.

I am here because of them.

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I sit at the head of a long table. All these people are there, I am here because of all of them. The lines connect, intersect and overlap, but they are never broken.


*With thanks to Rabbi Mark Glickman, my brother. Family historian, writer and author, and originator (for me) of the concept of sitting at a long table, surrounded by ancestors.

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