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About ShtetlKettle

For the past 2 years, I’ve been blogging about fermentation on behalf of my small Detroit-based pickle business, Suddenly Sauer.

While food, in general, and fermentation, specifically, are central passions in my life, I felt that more theoretical fermentations (read: thoughts) weren’t as communicable in that space.  Thus, I’ve created ShtetlKettle.

In this space I want to think about community and individual identity.  My point of entry is Detroit Jewish identity, but I’m in no way limited to any one perspective.  I see some of the most poignant inquiries developing out of the borders between identities, and I hope to explore my identity, both personal and communal, with the boundaries (real and imaginary) that we create. 

While I plan to post on a weekly basis, I also want this space to be open to any/all those who happen to share in these (rather specific) areas of interest.  Guest posts and comments welcome!

I look forward to growing with you!




Blair Nosan

Everyone is (or should be?) talking about leadership.  I had the pleasure of attending two recent conversations about leadership. One was a workshop put on by the Riverfront East Congregational Initiative (RECI), the other, a conversation at The Boggs Center

By leadership– don’t be mistaken and assume that means we were talking about charismatic individuals.  No.. this is about leadership, the quality.  Leadership is less about charisma and control, and more about the question “how do we encourage/affirm leadership qualities emerging in ourselves and others”

As always, this kind of thinking requires some internal changes of each of us.  It requires both that we learn to value ourselves enough to courageously offer our leadership qualities to others, and that we are each humble enough to recognize them in others.  It also requires that we let go of our desire to either control/be controlled, and instead learn to operate in the more ambiguous-yet-more-generative realm of diffused leadership.

Leadership has everything to do with empowerment and creativity.  Which is precisely what makes it exciting, and oh so relevant.  Below, I’m sharing the notes I took at our RECI conversation about leadership.  I found this talk to be very helpful.

Helpful to keep in mind, however, are the central tensions in any group’s movement:

  1. Purpose/Goals/Tasks
  2. Social/Emotional needs

These tensions can sometimes be complimentary, and sometimes be pulling apart. 

Then there are leadership qualities:

  1. initiative
  2. support for tasks
  3. clarifying
  4. recognizing and nurturing capacity of others 
  5. passion
  6. challenging
  7. peace-making
  8. and the array of other emergent, constructive, qualities in any group

leadership structure

Hierarchies– are what we’re most familiar with.  Most of our groups are organized as hierarchies: Family, Military, Sports, Corporations, Religious Congregations.  The only familiar non-hierarchy in most of our lives tends to be our friend/peer groups.

Equal/Shared/Leadership– we’re far less familiar with.  it thus requires intentional shaping.  The following areas are essential in creating Leader-full organizations

  3. FLEXIBILITY (structures as key to purpose, not personality)

Hierarchies are most effective in allowing for control.

Shared Leadership is most effective in allowing for creativity.