You are here

Certificate in Jewish Leadership

Certificate in Jewish Leadership

Certificate in Jewish Leadership 2015 Recipient Peter Bensinger, Jr. found the program "a tremendously valuable experience." Peter is a Partner at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar and Scott LLP and a Trustee at Spertus Institute, Lurie Children's Research Institute, and Chicago Sinai Congregation.

Sponsored by Northwestern University and Spertus Institute, the Certificate in Jewish Leadership (CJL) is dedicated to enhancing the professional abilities of Jewish leaders.

The program is rooted in the belief that Judaism has its own distinct and insightful approaches to leadership. Through lectures and group work led by senior Northwestern University and Spertus Institute faculty, CJL Fellows learn to be skillful supervisors, manage change, and cultivate their own personal leadership styles. The curriculum draws from best practices in contemporary leadership and from classical Jewish texts and thought.

The Fall 2015 Chicago Session has begun and we are not
yet taking applications for the next session at this time.  

Interested in a future session or just want to
learn more about this program? contact
Spertus Institute Director of Enrollment
Stacey Flint at or

Traditionally, programs for Jewish leadership have focused either on management skills or Jewish literacy. In this program, leadership training is taught within a distinctively Jewish context. Participants learn to strengthen their own leadership, articulate vision, motivate stakeholders, improve collaboration, achieve organizational goals, and execute plans for the future.

The curriculum is a four-module sequence offered on Northwestern's Evanston campus and at Spertus Institute in Chicago's South Loop. It begins with an intensive two-day seminar and continues with three modules, scheduled as below.

The program includes mentoring with established Jewish community leaders.

CJL Fellows proceed through the curriculum as a cohort, which provides opportunities for peer learning and networking.

Modules and Schedule

Session Dates

Session Times

Topic and Faculty

 Module 1
 (Two days,
 meets at

 9 am-5 pm
 Sunday and  Monday,
 Oct 11-12

 Models of Jewish
 Taught by
 Dr. Hal M Lewis

 Module 2
 (Four sessions,  includes  Leadership Skills  Assessment,  meets at  Spertus)

 6-9 pm
 Oct 19 and 26,
 Nov 9, and
 Dec 7

 for Leaders
 Taught by
 Aleen Bayard

 Module 3
 (Two sessions,  meets in  Evanston)
 9 am-3 pm
 Sunday, Nov 15
 6:30-9:30 pm
 Monday, Nov 16

 Taught by
 Dr. Gail Berger  Darlow

 Module 4
 (Three sessions,  meets at  Spertus)

 6-9 pm
 Jan 11, 18,
 and 25

 Leading People
 Through Change
 Dr. Russ Rogers

 (One day)

 9 am-3 pm
 Jan 31

 Taught by
 Dr. Hal M Lewis

About Northwestern University

  • Northwestern University is a preeminent university recognized internationally as a hallmark of academic excellence.
  • Northwestern provides students with exceptional opportunities for intellectual, professional, and personal growth.
  • SPS instructors bring outstanding academic credentials and relevant professional experience to the classroom to create a highly interactive, collaborative, and challenging learning environment.
  • SPS students study with peers who have rich, diverse backgrounds and can provide lifelong learning connections.

About Spertus Institute

  • Spertus Institute has a long and rich history of innovative programming that serves the needs of Jewish educators and communal professionals.
  • Spertus Institute’s outstanding, diverse, and non-denominational offerings are multifaceted, grounded in Jewish thought, inspired by Jewish values, and resolutely relevant to contemporary life.
  • Spertus Institute's graduate-level degree programs, professional certificates, and workshops blend theory and practice and are taught by leading faculty with real-world experience.
  • Spertus Institute serves students around the globe through on-campus and distance-learning programs.


“I have been able to take what I learned in each class and use it to enhance the work I do professionally.”
— Michael Waitz, North American Director, Shorashim

“...taught me to be more effective as a leader.”
— Sheri Hokin, Trustee, Jewish Women's Foundation

“I gained business skills, collaboration skills, and greater self-awareness.”
— Susan Levin-Abir, Midwest Regional Director of Development, Hadassah

“I strongly recommend this program to lay and professional leaders in the Jewish community.”
— Shalom Klein, Vice President, Moshe Klein and Associates and Director, Jewish B2B Networking

Is this program for me?

This program has been developed
for established and emerging leaders (including lay leaders) of Jewish organizations. To date, we have served leaders of organizations focused on social service, philanthropy, education, culture, and advocacy.

We have found that newly promoted managers and directors — and the organizations they serve — have much to gain from this program.

Consultants and professionals working outside the Jewish community will also find the program offers benefits to their work through its focus on best practices in a Jewish context.

Professional Mentoring

Mentoring is a unique and essential aspect of this program. Each CJL Fellow is assigned a professional mentor who has extensive senior-level Jewish leadership experience. Mentors work closely with Fellows to identify areas for professional growth, discuss professional challenges, and help foster professional application of the program's content.

Mentors to date have included:

Aleen Bayard, Founder, MarketZing and Adjunct Faculty, Northwestern University

Audra Berg, Associate Vice President of Leadership and Campaign, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

Aaron Cohen, Vice President, Communications, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

Daniel Elbaum, Director, American Jewish Committee, Chicago Regional Office

Greg Gross, President & CEO, Michael Reese Health Trust

Dr. Michael Kotzin, ל"ז, Executive Vice President, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

Dr. Elliot Lefkovitz, Former Director of Education, Congregation Am Yisroel and Faculty, Spertus Institute

Dr. Hal M. Lewis, President and CEO, Spertus Institute

Dr. David Rubovits, Senior Vice President of Planning and Allocations, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

Emily Soloff, Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, American Jewish Committee

Stefen Teodosic, Executive Director, Beber Camp

Jill Weinberg, Midwest Regional Director, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Mark Weiner, President and CEO, Council for Jewish Elderly (Chicago)

Richard Zelin, Vice President of Development, Sinai Health System

Learning Outcomes

To earn the certificate, Fellows must complete all four modules and the capstone. Fellows who complete the certificate program will be able to:

  • Analyze, explain, and model what it means to be an effective leader by drawing upon Jewish scholarship, classical texts, and best practices
  • Apply ethical principles based on Jewish traditions into daily leadership practices
  • Demonstrate an understanding of key qualities of effective leadership based on contemporary leadership theory
  • Develop a repertoire of supervisory, conflict resolution, and change management skills
  • Implement strategies and techniques for effective collaboration, team building, and communication
  • Synthesize what is learned in this program to solve problems within the organization(s) with which the participant works

Did you know?

Tuition and fees paid out-of-pocket
for accredited higher education certificate programs like this one may qualify for a deduction on your federal taxes, depending on your income.
Check with your tax adviser for details.