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Certificate in Jewish Leadership

Certificate in Jewish Leadership

Certificate in Jewish Leadership

The 2018 cohort is now open for applications 
Apply now

Sponsored by Northwestern University and Spertus Institute, the Certificate in Jewish Leadership (CJL) enhances the professional abilities of Jewish leaders. With a cohort of senior-level colleagues, participants learn to:

  • Master communication and collaboration, even in difficult situations
  • Articulate and achieve goals
  • Inspire excellence
  • Lead through times of change

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, participants 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.

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.

Hybrid teaching model allows participation
from across North America

Beginning in October 2017, the program will be presented through a combination of onsite seminars (at the Spertus Institute campus in Chicago) and online content.

Cost for entire program (including Leadership Assessment and Mentor Match) is $2,500. Discount available for qualified employees of Jewish organizations. Does not include travel or accommodations.

Interested in finding out if this program is right for you?

Request Information

Or contact Director of Enrollment Management Anita Silvert


Curriculum covers four key areas

The curriculum is a four-course sequence. Participants proceed through the curriculum as a cohort, which provides opportunities for peer learning and networking.The program includes mentoring with established Jewish community leaders.

Fall 2018 Seminar

Course 1: Models of Jewish Leadership
Dr. Hal M. Lewis, President and CEO, Spertus Institute
October 28
12:00 pm Welcome Lunch
1:00 pm – 9:00 pm
October 29
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Course 2: Collaboration
Dr. Gail Berger Darlow, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University
October 29
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
October 30
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Winter 2019 Seminar

Couse 3: Communications for Leaders
Aleen Bayard, Principle, Aleen Bayard Inc., Adjunct Faculty, Northwestern University
March 3
12:00 pm Welcome Lunch
1:00 pm – 9:00 pm
March 4
9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Course 4: Leading People Though Change
Dr. Russ Rogers, Director, School for New Learning Graduate Programs at DePaul University
March 4
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Certificate Reception
March 5
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Online Capstone Conversation
Dr. Hal M. Lewis, President and CEO, Spertus Institute
March TBD


About Northwestern University

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

About Spertus Institute

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

Learning Outcomes

To earn the certificate, participants must complete all four modules and the capstone. Participants 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

Apply now

Mazel tov to the 2017 Chicago-area Certificate In Jewish Leadership recipients!
Shown top, left to right: Rabbi Anna Levin Rosen, University of Chicago Hillel | Alec Ross, Youth Centers of Israel/Keren Yaldenu | Betsy Gomberg, Spertus Institute | Peter Bensinger, Sr., Morneau Shepell | Jane Charney, Jewish Community Relations Council | Jason Peltz, Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP and Trustee, Jewish United Fund | Dr. Linda Mathias Kaskel, Trustee, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation | Silvia Testa, NBC Universal Hispanic Group and Women’s Network, NBCU. | Not pictured: Allan Bogan, BBYO | Sherrie Weiss, Trustee, Florence Melton School of Adult Learning and Friends of the IDF | Troy Zukowski, Choices for Change and Trustee, Temple B’nai Israel.

Through the generous support of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, agency executives from every Jewish organization in Cincinnati participated in a local cohort of the Certificate in Jewish Leadership program.

Mazel tov to the 2017 Cincinnati Certificate in Leadership recipients!
Joni Burton, JVS Career Services | Eric Dauer, Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati | Shep Englander, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati | Dan Fagin, Cedar Village Retirement Community | Marc Fisher, Mayerson JCC | Rabbi Yitzchak Goldstein, Cincinnati Hebrew Day School | Cathy Heldman, AJC Cincinnati | Brian Jaffee, Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati | Elaine Kaplan, Rockwern Academy | Jennifer Kash, Mayerson JCC | Barbara Miller, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati | Marcy Miller, Hillel at Miami University | Danielle Minson, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati | Avi Ram, Shared Business Services | Beth Schwartz, Jewish Family Service | Kathleen Shannon, Halom House | Kim Slaton, JVS Career Services | Abby Solomon, Camp Livingston | Sharon Stern, Cincinnati Hillel | Sarah Weiss, Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education | Max Yamson, Camp Livingston.


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

“Provided both theoretical and practical underpinnings to help me bolster my ability to communicate and leverage my strength as part of a team. I see the program as essential to my advancement as a professional.”
— Jane Charney, Director of Domestic Affairs, Jewish Community Relations Council

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 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

Apply now


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.


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:

  • Audra Berg, Associate Vice President of Leadership and Campaign, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Aaron Cohen, Vice President, Communications, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Greg Gross, President & CEO, Michael Reese Health Trust
  • Dr. David Rubovits, Senior Vice President of Planning and Allocations, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
  • 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
  • Amy Wichnick, Principle, Whichnick and Associates 
  • Laura Kaufman, CEO, Partners in Effective Philanthropy 
  • Leslie Rosen Stern, Managing Director, Meeting Your Mission
  • Dr. Marc Swatez, Executive Director, The ARK
  • Gary Weinstein, President and CEO (retired), Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas


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.