A Question of Membership

This case looks at how multiple religious belonging poses a challenge for religious organizations in America. We invite you to consider using this case in your own educational context, and we invite your feedback.

"A Question of Membership" consists of three parts: an “A” case which brings students from the description of the dilemma– whether or not Rabbi Sheldon Ezring should allow Shinge Roshi Sherry Chayat, a Jewish-born Zen priest, to join his synagogue– to the point of decision-making; a “B” case which describes the Rabbi’s decision-making process and includes the letter he wrote to the Central Conference of American Rabbis; and a “C” case which describes Shinge Roshi's perspective and the outcome and resolution of the dispute. A teaching note that fosters discussion through a series of open-ended questions follows this case.

A Question of Membership- A Case

A Question of Membership- B Case

A Question of Membership- C Case

Teaching Note



Copyright © 2013 Brandeis University, the President and Fellows of Harvard College, and the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. Ellie Pierce (Harvard University) Emily Sigalow  (Brandeis University), and Wendy Cadge (Brandeis University) prepared this case as the basis for class discussion and education. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective leadership.  For more information about the Case Study Initiative, please contact Ellie Pierce at: epierce@fas.harvard.edu.