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 to 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 16th cohort, they completed the program with a culmination event on May 7, 2024.


7 women sitting indoors around a table

Certificate in Jewish Leadership Cohort 16

Pictured above, left to right, top to bottom.

Emily Benedix of Merrillville, IN
Executive Director
Jewish Federation of Northwest Indiana

Jennifer Herrington of Boulder, CO
Executive Director
Congregation Bonai Shalom

Aliza Tick of Southfield, MI
Manager of Museum Education
Zekelman Holocaust Center

Dr. Harriette Wimms of Baltimore, MD
Founder/Executive Director of the
Jews of Color Mishpacha Project;
Inaugural Jews of Color Engagement Fellow
The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore

Scarlett Andes of Chicago, IL
Manager of Student & Faculty Services
Spertus Institute

Hilary Levine of Philadelphia, PA
Associate Director
American Jewish Committee

Rebecca Simons of Charleston, SC
Administrative Director
Synagogue Emanu-El

About the Certificate in Jewish Leadership

The members of Cohort 16 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 E. 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 is praised by participants.

Cohort 16 now joins past participants who have brought new skills to their careers and communities. About completing the program, Hilary Levine said, “I feel immense gratitude for the growth and newfound confidence that I gained both personally and professionally, and for the new network of talented colleagues who share similar passions, interests, and experiences. The CJL program forced me out of my comfort zone (in a positive way!) and allowed me to take a deep dive into exploring my individual strengths and how to most effectively utilize these strengths in my work and leadership.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Aliza Tick said, “I am completing the CJL program as a stronger leader. I know how to leverage my strengths and approach my daily work with new skills and intentionality.”

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.

About Spertus Institute

Spertus Institute is an institution of higher Jewish learning dedicated to real-world action. At Spertus Institute, we believe that the wisdom in Jewish history, thought, and texts has meaning as an academic pursuit and as a catalyst for action. The learning we offer is rich and rigorous. It is deeply relevant to the challenges we face today and to building a stronger, more compassionate, more vibrant future.

At our core are degree and certificate programs in which students engage with Jewish ideas in the service of personal growth, community leadership, and professional advancement. These offerings, which merge theory and practice, educate Jewish professionals, community leaders, and those who seek quality, reflection-driven scholarship.

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


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