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Spertus Welcomes Tal Rosen as Director of Center for Jewish Leadership

Spertus Welcomes Tal Rosen as Director of Center for Jewish Leadership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — October 22, 2014

For more information contact:

Betsy Gomberg
bgomberg@spertus.edu | 312.322.1756


SPERTUS WELCOMES TAL ROSEN AS
DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR JEWISH LEADERSHIP

Goal of new programmatic center is to transform Jewish life
by cultivating innovative approaches to leadership and enhancing
the abilities of Jewish communal professionals and volunteers.

(CHICAGO) Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership is pleased to announce the appointment of Tal Rosen as Director of the Institute’s new Center for Jewish Leadership. In this position, he will promote innovative and effective Jewish leadership through programs that expand and strengthen the strategic agility of Jewish professionals and volunteers in the Chicago area and beyond. He will also take on the management of Spertus Institute’s acclaimed Master’s program in Jewish Professional Studies, now serving students in several US cities and in Canada and Israel.

Rosen comes to Spertus with hands-on experience and field-tested insight into what fosters innovation in the Jewish communal sector. “If our community wants to inspire innovation, our organizations must create conditions that foster creativity for their employees and volunteers. The Center for Jewish Leadership is here to help these values take root, and I am honored to have been brought to Spertus to help bring this new initiative to fruition.”

Rosen is no stranger to the search for a perfect solution. As a chemistry student at Dickinson College, a small liberal arts college twenty miles west of his hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Rosen spent countless hours in the lab experimenting with ingredients and solvents. But it was his lack of skills behind the Bunsen Burner that drove Rosen to switch his major to Jewish studies, a move that would propel him halfway across the United States, then to Israel, and eventually, to Spertus Institute’s front door.

Rosen seems to have been groomed to serve in this newly created position. As a graduate student in rabbinic studies at Hebrew Union College, he traveled to Israel to study Jewish texts and strengthen his ties to the Jewish community. After relocating back to the United States, he pursued an MBA at Ohio’s Miami University with plans to work in marketing. Those plans, however, were soon disrupted.

“I was studying abroad in China,” said Rosen, “and one day, out of the blue, I got a call from the Miami University Hillel. They told me they were looking for somebody to help them restructure their organization.”

That offer came just a week before Rosen was supposed to take a job at an upscale advertising firm in Ohio. He faced a difficult decision: follow his plans to become a business-minded marketer, or return to his calling as a Jewish leader. He went with his heart. “I called that marketing firm the next day to tell them I wasn’t coming in,” said Rosen.

As the Executive Director of the Miami University Hillel, Rosen helped create a pluralistic, welcoming, and inclusive environment for the university’s more than 1,000 Jewish undergraduate and graduate students. After the year he spent there, Rosen was hooked on Jewish communal service. When the Executive Director position opened at KAM Isaiah Israel in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, he and his wife, then a newly-minted rabbi, enthusiastically moved to Chicago.

At KAM, Chicago oldest synagogue, Rosen refined his sense of Jewish leadership, becoming exposed to issues and initiatives he feels are critical to the future success of the Jewish community. For example, in addition to the tasks one normally associates with the Executive Director of an urban synagogue, he was responsible for overseeing the synagogue’s micro-farm program, small plots of land the congregation uses to grow fresh produce for the community, and to teach urban agriculture and sustainability.

Rosen has also been instrumental in bringing ecological awareness to the Jewish community at large. As an active member of Hazon, a Jewish group dedicated to principles of sustainability, Rosen works to raise awareness of the fact that sustainability is a trademark of Jewish ethics. He shares this philosophy with his new employer, whose award-winning building is powered by 100% renewable energy.

“Sustainability is certainly one of the values that Jewish organizations have an obligation to uphold,” said Rosen. “In fact, it’s part of our tradition. There all kinds of traditions for the agriculture and the environment, and that’s why Jewish communities should be leaders in this field of sustainability.”

As Director of the Center for Jewish Leadership, Rosen will no doubt have all kinds of sustainability on his mind. By offering programs, workshops, seminars, and master classes on issues concerning Jewish innovation and entrepreneurship, the CJL is designed to be a resource for tomorrow’s Jewish leaders. Though his chemistry studies are long behind him, he still demonstrates a knack for combining ingredients to create powerful reactions.

“Leadership, philanthropy, innovation, and respect for our community—these are part of the collage that will make up the future of our Jewish community,” says Rosen. “We’re moving toward an exciting future, and we have to be open-minded and forward-thinking to embrace that new reality. The Center for Jewish Leadership is going help get us there.”

Rosen and his wife, Rabbi Anna Levin Rosen—Rabbi and Director of Student Life at The University of Chicago—live in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood with their children Joshua, age 2, and Ellie, 8 weeks.

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About the Center for Jewish Leadership

Rooted in the belief that great Jewish communities need great leaders, Spertus Institute’s strong>Center for Jewish Leadership aims to transform Jewish life by cultivating innovative approaches to leadership and enhancing the abilities of Jewish communal professionals and volunteers. Programs offered through the CJL provide participants with a holistic approach to Jewish leadership that seamlessly integrates deeper understanding of Jewish life, culture, and history with insights and best practices from the worlds of business and nonprofit leadership.

About Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

Spertus Institute offers dynamic learning opportunities, rooted in Jewish wisdom and culture and open to all. Graduate programs and workshops train future leaders and engage individuals in exploration of Jewish life. Public programs—including films, speakers, seminars, and concerts—take place at the Institute's Michigan Avenue facility, in the Chicago suburbs, and online. For more information, please visit spertus.edu.

Spertus Institute is a partner in serving the community, supported by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.