Rabbi Brad Levenberg, Ph.D. is a 2021 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.
Rabbi Dr. Brad Levenberg at his Dissertation Defense.
From L-R: Dr. Aqeel Tirmizi, Committee Chair, Dr. Samual K. Joseph, Committee Member, Dr. Donna Ladkin, Committee Member
- S. Aqeel Tirmizi, Ph.D., Committee Chair
- Donna Ladkin, Ph.D., Committee Member
- Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Ph.D., Committee Member
archival research; civil rights; leadership; leadership theory; rabbi; social justice; South; synagogue
This dissertation examines the experiences of five civil rights-era rabbis (William Silverman, Randall Falk, Alfred Goodman, Irving Bloom, and Burton Padoll) to highlight their contributions, leadership approaches, struggles, and achievements with a particular emphasis on social justice. As each of the rabbis drew from their understanding of the richness of the Jewish textual canon, the study includes a survey of Biblical, Talmudic, and contemporary Jewish sources that laid the groundwork for their rabbinic activism and which compel rabbis today. The study dramatically highlights those texts as providing applicable strategies with regard to leading a congregation with a “prophetic” voice, knowing when to speak out, and how to do so, strategies that inspired—and inspire—rabbis to engage in work intended to make their communities more just and equitable. Each of the five rabbis featured in the dissertation produced vast amounts of correspondence, sermonic materials, and other writings, making archival research a particularly useful methodology to explore the volumes of primary sources and provide insight into the individual and collective experiences of these rabbis. Particular attention is further paid to context as a means of highlighting and distinguishing the choices that these rabbis made as leaders of and within their communities. The dissertation contributes to the leadership legacy of these rabbis by contributing new and relevant materials to scholarship around the civil rights movement, the American Jewish experience, and the intersection of the two. Four contemporary leadership theories are highlighted through their experiences (Transformational Leadership Theory, Servant Leadership Theory, Relational Leadership Theory, and Courageous Leadership Theory), which, in turn, makes current scholarship in the field of leadership and change accessible to clergy. Additional theories of leadership are also explored through these exemplars, as is the introduction of a composite theory of leadership based upon the shared experiences of these rabbis. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, https://aura.antioch.edu/ and OhioLINK ETD Center, https://etd.ohiolink.edu/.
Levenberg, B. G. (2021). Applying the Present to the Past: The Experiences of Five Civil Rights Rabbis in Context of Contemporary Leadership Theory. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/709
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