Episode 29: Patience To Learn And Humility To Lead w/Dr. Erica Brown

Episode 29: Patience To Learn And Humility To Lead w/Dr. Erica Brown

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

— African Proverb

Dr. Erica Brown is an associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at the George Washington University and the director of its Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. She is the author of twelve books on the subjects of leadership, the Hebrew Bible and spirituality. Her forthcoming commentary is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile.

She has been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Tablet and The Jewish Review of Books and wrote a monthly column for the New York Jewish Week. She has blogged for Psychology Today, Newsweek & Washington Post’s “On Faith” and JTA. She tweets on one page of Talmud study a day at DrEricaBrown.

Erica has degrees from Yeshiva University, University of London, Harvard University and Baltimore Hebrew University. She previously served as the scholar-in-residence at both The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and as the community scholar for the Jewish Center of New York.

Erica was a Jerusalem Fellow, is a faculty member of the Wexner Foundation, an Avi Chai Fellow and the recipient of the 2009 Covenant Award for her work in education. She currently serves as a community scholar for Congregation Etz Chaim in Livingston, NJ.

Erica is also the author of Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet, Take Your Soul to Work: 365 Meditations on Every Day Leadership and Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death, which won both the Wilbur and Nautilus awards for spiritual writing.

Her previous books include Inspired Jewish Leadership, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, Spiritual Boredom, Confronting Scandal and co- authored The Case for Jewish Peoplehood.

She also wrote Seder Talk: A Conversational Haggada, Leadership in the Wilderness, In the Narrow Places and Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe.

There are many oft-used expressions that are repeated over and over again in Jewish communal spaces: “love your neighbor as yourself”. Yet, how does one actually get to the place of these high ideals? In my conversation with Dr. Erica Brown, we talk about the importance of sitting with a text and reflecting on where we are as a person in this world. No matter if we have success or if we are going through a rut – we are always in need of an opportunity to pause and do some soul-searching. Perhaps, it is precisely during our moments of success that this reevaluation is most needed.

What matters is not leading a successful life, but rather living an interesting one – says Dr. Erica Brown. What use is it to have degrees or titles if we are not curious or vulnerable? If we stagnate and cease our learning, can we then truly consider ourselves successful? A commitment to lifelong learning not only helps us transform ourselves, but also the communities that we serve.

To watch a video of Dr. Erica Brown reflecting on the power of remembering the dreams and hopes we have for creating transformation and change, click on the video below!


“Which do you find to be more important for you – leading a successful life or an interesting one?

Comment below!”


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