Leadership in Challenging Times

Leaders of Jewish organizations confront the same challenges faced by any leader in the nonprofit sector.

They also must address a range of difficult demands particular to Jewish communities, especially in times as trying as those we face today.

Spertus Institute is proud to recognize nine community leaders who have stepped up the challenge, gaining specialized training to address the unique challenges facing Jewish communities.

These leaders gained new knowledge, resources, and skills through the Certificate in Jewish Leadership, presented through a partnership between Chicago-based Spertus Institute and Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies. Members of 15th cohort, they completed the program with a culmination event on January 10, 2024.


Group of nine adults

Certificate in Jewish Leadership Cohort 15

Pictured above, left to right, top to bottom.

Jodi Toledano of Montreal, QC
Community Relations Manager–Grants Officer, Federation CJA

Danielle Rubin of Minneapolis, MN
Director of Marketing Solutions, Start Early

Barbara McAnelly of Ann Arbor, MI
Director of Engagement and Programming, Beth Israel Congregation

Eddie Chavez Calderon of Scottsdale, AZ
Campaign Director, Uri L’Tzedek

Rebecca Elkus-Ferst of New Rochelle, NY
Director of Education, Temple Israel of New Rochelle

Mady Frisher of Highland Park, IL
Development & Engagement Associate, Mishkan

Jordyn Barry of Alexandria, VA
Director of Camp and Youth Groups, Temple Rodef Shalom

Marie Dieterle of Nutley, NJ
Director, Shoresh Preschool, Temple Ner Tamid

Toby Klein of Northbrook, IL
Programs Manager, A Wider Bridge

About the Certificate in Jewish Leadership

The members of Cohort 15 completed four interactive components: Models of Jewish Leadership, Communications for Leaders, Leading People Through Change, and Collaboration and Power Sharing, as well as a personalized leadership assessment and a special workshop on Resilient Leadership. Together, they learned to strengthen their own leadership styles, manage change, and inspire excellence.

The program fosters a meaningful network of colleagues who work closely with each other during and after formal coursework. Spertus Dean and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Keren Fraiman notes that “the extensive experience, diverse professional backgrounds, and variety of perspectives in each cohort make the opportunities for learning, growth, and community building particularly rich.”

The program’s effectiveness has been praised by past participants.

Cohort 15 now joins past participants who have brought new skills to their careers and communities. Among them, Sofia Jouravel, Director of the Russian-Speaking Division of Chicago’s Jewish United Fund, said, “This was one of the best programs I’ve ever been part of. All of the members of my cohort came away empowered and inspired to use what we learned.” Amy Golding, Former Head of the Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley, said, “Finding this program was a blessing. I find myself being more present, a better listener, and more equipped to understand my community’s needs.”

As this cohort completes the program, the application period is now open for Cohort 17, which begins in November 2024. Those who apply by the Preferred Admission Deadline of July 15, 2024, can waive their $50 application fee. Those interested should visit spertus.edu/certificate or contact Assistant Director of Recruitment Amie Barrish at abarrish@spertus.edu.

Spertus Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Certificate in Jewish Leadership is a program of Spertus Institute’s Center for Jewish Leadership, supported in part by a generous grant from the Crown Family.

Spertus Institute is a partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community.

Image above: Spertus Institute, Chicago.

See all News