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As a Head Of School from a small community, it can be hard to take a moment to just….breathe. With the mounting pressures of finances, development, assessments, admissions, and H.R. how many moments do we get to learn and problem solve with our administrative peers?

Our time at the Prizmah, Small School Retreat in Brandeis has given us the tools for self care AND school care. Our presenters were all fantastic, but Jared Finkelstein from the Bay Area Center for Non-violent Communicationis is who I’d like to focus on.  Jared opened our eyes to the humanity that can be found and fostered, even in our most difficult and crucial conversations

We’ve all been there, the screaming parent member; the always tardy Ivrit or math teacher; the overreaching board member, etc.  It can feel so necessary to give your immediate, and often “unfiltered”, mission-driven response, but will that be the most effective and Jewish way?

These moments present us with opportunities to be present, compassionate and demonstrative of love, as well as the values we profess. By entering the conversation that centers the other person as “just trying to enact their needs” we open a space for grace and our own needs to be met.

While it may be a challenge, I look forward to actively channeling this learning into my next difficult conversation and showing myself as a brave and loving leader.