So, You Want To Be a Temple President? A Guide to Almost All You Need To Know.

BE YOURSELF Sounds simple, right? I remember when I began my teaching career (okay, a long, long time ago). That was the first, and best, advice I was given. It has served me well in everything I’ve done in life. Never try to be something you’re not.

KNOW THAT YOU’RE NOT THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE ROOM Shockingly, being President doesn’t ratchet up your IQ. Some may even argue that it seems to lower it. Learn how to listen and really hear what others are saying.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE Then “pick” their brains (which sounds sorta gross at face value). This segues nicely from knowing that you’re not the smartest person in the room. I’ve been able to lean on the wisdom of so many good people, including the Rabbi, the Cantor, and five amazing Vice Presidents. Trust me, it makes you look much smarter.

SMILE It goes a long way. I like to say that I smile a lot…it must be a genetic defect! Actually, it’s probably because my mother always used to say, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

BE KIND This goes along with the whole smile thing. It’s important to treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

OPINIONS ARE LIKE NOSES That’s because everybody has one. This is part of being kind. Listen to people’s opinions…but ultimately you have to do what’s best for the temple.

BE PREPARED Yep, the Boy Scout motto (I have 21 merit badges…nearly made Eagle Scout). Never stop learning. Try to gain as much knowledge as you can. It can only help make good decisions.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED The antithesis of my previous point. The Rabbi is fond of saying “Man plans, and God laughs.” Days when nothing unexpected happens on this job are rare.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A GOOD CELL PHONE PLAN  I told someone recently that it’s a good thing that you no longer pay for minutes on a cell plan (am I dating myself?). If I had to pay for cell calls by the minute, I’d have to mortgage my house. In other words…you spend a lot of time talking temple business.

EMBRACE MEETINGS Because you’re going to attend a lot – I mean really a lot – of them.

LEARN HOW TO DELEGATE There are literally dozens of committees and temple groups. The President needs to know what’s going on but has to hand all those reins to the right people.

FIND A SUPPORTIVE PARTNER I cannot imagine holding this job if my wife Lois wasn’t 100% onboard.

QUIT YOUR DAY JOB I have an unbelievable amount of respect for my predecessors who were working full time. To me, this is a full-time job.

LOVE GIVING BACK If the temple means as much to you as it does to me, you’ll love this job, and it will love you right back.