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Certificate in Jewish Leadership

Certificate in Jewish Leadership

Jewish organizational professionals and volunteers from across North America complete Certificate in Jewish Leadership, presented by Spertus Institute and Northwestern University

Application period now open for 2019/2020 cohort

Most Jewish leadership programs 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.

That’s why Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, in partnership with Northwestern University, offers the Certificate in Jewish Leadership. On March 5, 2019, a cohort of sixteen professionals and lay leaders completed the program. They are poised to bring their new leadership expertise to a range of roles and responsibilities in organizations that serve Jewish communities across North America, from Chicago to Boulder to Toronto, and more. They have learned to strengthen their own leadership styles, communicate and collaborate within and across organizations, manage change, and inspire excellence.

The recipients of the Certificate in Jewish Leadership are: Nurit Carry, Judaic Studies Teacher, Shulamith School for Girls, Cedarhurst, NY; Kit Colorado, Administrative Director, Congregation Bonai Shalom, Boulder, CO; Patrick Dankwa John, Attorney, The Barclay Law Group, Chicago, IL; Patti Frazin, Associate Vice President, Campaign, Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago, IL; Shasha Grebenyuk, Executive/Program Director, Jookender Community Initiatives, Inc., Boston, MA; Rachel Hillman, Assistant Director, Northwestern Hillel, Evanston, IL; Rabbi Rob Jury, Rabbi and Cantor, Congregation Anshe Tikvah, Northbrook, IL; Becky Levi, Real Estate Broker, Coldwell Banker and Ta’am Yisrael Youth Trip Leader, Evanston, IL; Katie Oringel, Cantor, Temple Sinai Congregation, Toronto, ON; Jeremy Perlin, Executive Director, Temple Sholom, Chicago, IL; Beth Schenker, Associate Dean for Public and Noncredit Programs, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, Chicago, IL; Russell Shapiro, Partner at Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC and Trustee, Spertus Institute, Chicago, IL; Anita Silvert, Director of Enrollment Management, Spertus Institute, Chicago, IL; Richard Skeen, Nonprofit Management Consultant, Beehive Media Strategies, New York, NY; Misha Vilenchuk, Manager, Campus Operations and Development, KAHAL, Chicago, IL; and Amber Wood, Director of Operations, Temple Beth Israel, Skokie, IL.

“I really appreciated the diversity of this class,” said newly minted alum Shasha Grebenyuk. “I loved the idea of combining leadership and management skills with Jewish priorities. I will be able to bring this back to my community and grow my business.”

The Certificate in Jewish Leadership was developed for emerging leaders of nonprofit organizations, including those focused on social service, fundraising, education, culture, and public policy. The program draws faculty from both Spertus Institute and Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies to teach leadership within a distinctively Jewish context.

Participants learn to articulate vision and motivate stakeholders, improve collaboration, achieve organizational goals, and plan and execute for the future. It is presented under the auspices of Spertus Institute’s Center for Jewish Leadership, supported by a generous grant from the Crown Family.

A unique and essential aspect of the program is its focus on the mentoring of students by seasoned Jewish professional and lay leaders, which allows for professional networking and the opportunity to learn from a seasoned professional or lay leader in the Jewish community. Mentoring also enhances the participants’ educational experiences through examining the practical application of classroom learning and theory. “One of the things I really appreciated about this program was my mentor,” said participant Patti Frazin. “He was great at meeting me where I am and pushing me forward, helping me see new possibilities.”

Applications are now being accepted for the next cohort of the Certificate in Jewish Leadership. Classes take place during two short seminars in Chicago, November 17-19, 2019 and February 9-11, 2020. More information is available at

The mission of Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies (SPS) is to extend the resources of Northwestern University to undergraduate and graduate students whose lives include significant professional and personal commitments that place limitations on their schedules and affect the pace at which they may achieve their educational goals.

Spertus Institute offers dynamic learning opportunities, rooted in Jewish wisdom and culture and open to all. Graduate programs and workshops train future leaders and engage individuals in exploration of Jewish life. We often hear from students and participants that their experiences at Spertus are inspiring and even transformative. That is by design, because the Institute strives to offer thought-provoking content with real-world application, unparalleled resources, and a welcoming environment that encourages people to connect in an open exchange of ideas. Spertus Institute is a partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community.

Image top. Back row from left, Dr. Dean Phillip Bell, President and CEO, Spertus Institute and Dr. Keren E. Fraiman, Dean and CAO, Spertus Institute; Certificate recipients Richard Skeen, Amber Wood, Beth Schenker, Misha Vilenchuk, Rachel Hillman, Patrick Dankwa John, Jeremy Perlin, Shasha Grebenyuk, Nurit Carry, and Rabbi Rob Jury. Front row from left: Certificate recipients Anita Silvert, Patti Frazin, Becky Levi, Russell Shapiro, and Katie Oringel, with Tal Rosen, Former Director of Institutional Partnerships and Associate Dean of Students, Spertus Institute. Photo by Dan Rest. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019