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Certificate in Jewish Leadership

Certificate in Jewish Leadership

Applications now being accepted for Spring and Fall 2021 cohorts of the Certificate in Jewish Leadership, presented by Spertus Institute and Northwestern University

For Jewish communal professionals and lay leaders. Choice of start dates and formats. Both 2021 options include special workshop on Leading in Times of Crisis.

Applications are now being accepted for the highly acclaimed Certificate in Jewish Leadership, presented by Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in partnership with Northwestern University.

Due to high demand, two cohorts will begin in 2021.

The Certificate in Jewish Leadership is a selective admissions program. A minimum of five years of professional or volunteer experience and a strong commitment to developing professional potential is required.

Four interactive components comprise the program’s curriculum: Models of Jewish Leadership, Communications for Leaders, Leading People Through Change, and Collaboration and Power Sharing.

In addition, both 2021 cohorts will include a special workshop on Leading in Times of Crisis.

Certificate in Jewish LeadershipWith either format, participants will:

  • Complete their certificate in three months
  • Learn from senior Spertus Institute and Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies faculty, who are skilled in both in-person and online learning
  • Receive a personalized leadership assessment and professional coaching
  • Participate with a cohort of like-minded leaders from Jewish organizations across North America, in a welcoming, pluralistic context

The program’s effectiveness has been praised by past participants. Susan Levin-Abir, Executive Director of Friends of the Israel Defense Force in South Florida, said, “I gained business skills, collaboration skills, and greater self-awareness.” Ellie Spitz, Director of Programs at Mishkan Chicago, said, “I learned to access my own personal leadership strengths—and use that knowledge to build great relationships with my team.”

Lay leader Peter Bensinger, Jr., a partner at Barlit Beck Herman Palenchar and Scott LLP and longtime board member at a number of nonprofit organizations, called the program “a tremendously valuable experience.” He commended the ways the program addressed leadership within a distinctively Jewish context.

The program’s most recent graduates received their certificates at a ceremony at Spertus Institute in February 2020, just before COVID-19 restrictions took hold. As a group, they learned to strengthen their leadership styles, manage change, and inspire excellence, even in difficult times and trying situations. They bring their new leadership expertise to organizations across the spectrum of Jewish community life, at a time when such skills are decidedly in demand.

They are (pictured left to right above): Chris Harrison, Writer and Editor, Union of Reform Judaism, New York, NY; Polly Edelstein, Fellowship Coordinator, Tribe 12, Philadelphia, PA; Jennifer Lande, Director, Advancement, Hillels of Illinois/Jewish United Fund of Chicago; Rebecca Garrett, Director of Development, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, Chicago, IL; Sheri Rosenberg Jivens, Director of Membership and Inclusion at the Temple (Congregration Ohabai Shalom), Nashville, TN; Emily Resnik, Engagement Associate, Northwestern University Hillel, Evanston, IL; Shira Heideman, Program Director, JCC of Greater Baltimore, Baltimore, MD; Jennifer Hillel, Director of Development-Israel Action Network, JNFA, New York, NY; Brooke Herszage, Assistant Director of Mentoring and Programs, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, Chicago, IL; Rabbi Noah Kitty, Congregation Etz Chaim, Wilton Manors, FL; Amy Claver, Senior Specialist, Corporate Engagement, Rotary International, Evanston, IL; Francine Ephraim, Ephraim Nonprofit Solutions LLC, Highland Park, IL; Janos Cosma, IT Analyst and Consultant, Chicago, IL.

The Certificate in Jewish Leadership is presented under the auspices of Spertus Institute’s Center for Jewish Leadership, supported in part by a generous grant from the Crown Family.

The program cost is $2,500, which includes the leadership assessment and professional coaching. Limited scholarships may be available for employees of Jewish organizations.

More information is available at or those interested in learning more can contact Amie S. Barrish, Spertus Institute Assistant Director for Recruitment at

Tuesday, January 5, 2021