Certificate Program Prepares Leaders to Combat Antisemitism

Scott Braswell and Debra Barton Grant.

Cohort 3 of the Leadership Certificate in Combating Antisemitism begins in August 2024. Spertus Institute is now accepting applications from those in leadership positions at Jewish organizations across North America.

Although antisemitism was already on the rise when Spertus Institute’s Leadership Certificate in Combating Antisemitism (LCCA) was first proposed in 2021, no one anticipated the Hamas invasion of Israel and the subsequent skyrocketing of antisemitic speech and hate crimes.

“For me, this program has been extremely timely and incredibly impactful,” said Debra Barton Grant, a member of the inaugural cohort, which completed its work in August 2023. Grant is Associate Vice President of LiveSecure, a comprehensive security initiative from the Jewish Federations of North America.

A Skill-Building Blend of Theory and Practice

The LCCA program expertly blends theory and practice. Participants, who are leaders in national and regional Jewish organizations, gain critical skills in community engagement, risk assessment, crisis communications, and alliance building.

“This could not be more timely. We are helping to lead our communities through this time when people are raw and on edge,” said fellow participant Scott Braswell, CEO of Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County.

“Being able to understand how to speak about antisemitism, especially as it relates to anti-Zionism, has been a gift,” said Braswell, who is also a graduate of Spertus Institute’s Executive MA in Jewish Professional Studies. “We learned how to be proactive but also to react with strength when antisemitism rears its ugly head.”

The LCCA program utilizes Spertus Institute’s powerful cohort model in which participants work together to leverage each other’s skill, resources, and relationships. It also draws on the expertise of the leading voices in the field, said Dr. Dean P. Bell, Spertus President & CEO.

Application in Participants’ Own Communities

Participants discuss strengthening communications plans, building relationships inside and outside the Jewish community, and developing leadership on their teams. The program culminates in a project that is directly applicable to participants’ organizations.

Grant said her project has turned into a major LiveSecure initiative, educating high-level security experts, such as former FBI members and chiefs of police, about the Jewish community and contemporary antisemitism.

“One of the amazing things about Spertus is that it beautifully blends both an academic approach to learning and the practical,” Grant said. “There’s been one moment after another where I’ve taken what I’ve learned and applied it to my everyday work. My vantage point has expanded tremendously. I can’t stop talking about it and sharing it with colleagues.”


The application deadline for third cohort of the Leadership Certificate in Combating Antisemitism is May 15, 2024.

Find out if this program is right for you or a leader in your community.

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