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Certificate in Jewish Leadership

Certificate in Jewish Leadership

Application period open for Certificate in Jewish Leadership, presented by Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in partnership with Northwestern University

Program brings together international cohort of Jewish organizational professionals and trustees, emphasizes training needed to lead Jewish organizations in the 21st century

Jewish leadership programs generally focus on one of two areas, either management skills or Jewish literacy. But in today’s world, the hardworking professionals and dedicated volunteers who lead Jewish organizations need specialized knowledge to meet challenges and opportunities unique in the Jewish world.

To fill this need, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, in partnership with Northwestern University, offers the Certificate in Jewish Leadership, a program proven to enhance the abilities of Jewish leaders.

Together with a cohort of experienced colleagues serving Jewish communities worldwide, participants learn to strengthen their own leadership styles, manage change, and inspire excellence. They learn to communicate and collaborate within and across organizations, even in difficult times and trying situations.

The next cohort begins October 28, 2018. This is a selective enrollment program that requires applicants to have five or more years of professional experience, a bachelor's degree or the equivalent, and a strong commitment to developing and fulling their professional potential. The deadline for preferred admission is August 24, 2018.

To make participation available to participants worldwide, the program combines online content with onsite seminars at the Spertus Institute campus in Chicago (one seminar in the fall, one in the spring). Taught by senior faculty from Northwestern University and Spertus Institute, the program concludes with one-on-one mentoring sessions with established community leaders.

The full cost of the program is $2,500. This includes a leadership assessment and the mentor match, but does not include travel or accommodations. Scholarship opportunities may be available for qualified employees of Jewish organizations.

Two areas of leadership are covered in each of the Chicago seminars. During the fall seminar, October 28-30, 2018, Models of Jewish Leadership is taught by leadership expert Dr. Hal M. Lewis, who has been the CEO of Spertus Institute for ten years. Although stepping down from this position in June, he will continue at Spertus in a part-time role as Chancellor, while joining the faculty of the Center For Creative Leadership and serving as the Principal Consultant for Leadership For Impact LLC. Also during the fall seminar, the session on Collaboration is taught by Dr. Gail Berger Darlow, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University.

During the spring seminar, March 3-5, 2019, Communications for Leaders is taught by Aleen Bayard, Principal of Aleen Bayard Inc. and Adjunct Faculty, Northwestern University. Leading People Though Change is taught by Dr. Russ Rogers, Director of Graduate Programs at DePaul University’s School for New Learning. An online capstone conversation, led by Dr. Lewis, completes the program.

The program’s effectiveness has been praised by past participants. Chicagoan Jane Charney, Director of Domestic Affairs at the Jewish Community Relations Council, found it essential to her professional advancement. She said, “It provided both theoretical and practical underpinnings. Through what I learned, I’ve been able to bolster my ability to communicate and leverage my strength as part of a team.” Susan Levin-Abir, Director of Development for Hadassah, South Florida, said, "I gained business skills, collaboration skills, and greater self-awareness."

The members of last year’s cohort recently completed the program. They serve an incredible range of organizations and communities, representing the type of international network gained by participants. Certificate recipients are: Laurence Bolotin, Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity, Chicago, IL; Rena Boroditzky, Chesed Shel Emes, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Rabbi Janice Elster, Beth Sholom Synagogue, Toronto, Ontario; Margaux Friend, Lakeside Congregation, Highland Park, IL; Derek Greeley, Adath Emanu-El, Mount Laurel, NJ; Ariel Lapson, Ta’am Yisrael, JUF/Jewish Federation,  Chicago, IL; Michelle Lawner, JUF/Jewish Federation, Chicago, IL; Moshe Lencer, Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Indianapolis, IN; Lynne Lieberman, Friedman Commission for Jewish Education, West Palm Beach, FL; Michael Markman, Spertus Institute and PwC, Chicago, IL; Max Preschel, Confederacion de Asociaciones Israelitas, Caracas, Venezuela; Justine Saidman,  PJ Library and Jewish Writers’ Festival, Sydney, Australia; Abigail Salisbury, Temple Sinai, Pittsburgh, PA; Michael Schneider, Congregation Solel, Highland Park, IL; Susan Solomon, Sinai Congregation, Chicago, IL; Kyle Stone, Illinois Department of Public Health, Chicago, IL; Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Philadelphia, PA; Doug Winkelstein, BBYO, Chicago, IL; and Levi Zeffren, NSCY, Chicago, IL.

Those interested in learning more should contact Spertus Director of Recruitment Anita Silvert at or 312.322.1707, or visit

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Image at left

Certificate in Jewish Leadership recipient Rabbi Janice Elster (right) of Beth Sholom Synagogue in Toronto, with Erica Wilke Bova (left), Assistant Dean of International & Professional Education Programs at Northwestern University's School of Professional Studies, and Dr. Dean P. Bell (center), incoming Spertus President and CEO.