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Letter from the President — Winter 2017/2018

Letter from the President — Winter 2017/2018

Let There Be Light

What do gender inequity and political incivility have in common?

What do gender inequity in the workplace and incivility in the political arena have in common? For starters, both are plaguing our society at unprecedented rates. And because both are having a particularly deleterious effect on the American Jewish community, Spertus has a special responsibility to shine a light on each of them. Inspired by our motto, Let there be light (from the opening chapter of the Torah), we will, over the next several months, focus first on the challenges of women in the nonprofit workplace and second, on the importance of maintaining robust political discourse without demonizing the “other side.”

On Sunday, December 3, our Center for Jewish Leadership’s Annual Symposium will feature two of this country’s leading experts on closing the gender gap at work. While the speakers will concentrate on what nonprofit board members, donors, and professionals can do to achieve the equity our communal organizations purport to embrace, their presentations will have much broader resonance and will speak to corporate leaders, professionals, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists as well. Despite the progress that has been made within some Jewish organizations over the years, when it comes to the challenges of Ending the Gender Gap and Achieving The Power of Workplace Equity those who lead our communal institutions still have a great deal more to accomplish.

On Sunday, March 18, Spertus will launch the first chapter in a multi-year lecture series called Critical Conversations. This program is inspired by Judaism’s historic commitment to the marriage of robust debate and civil discourse. For our inaugural lecture, we will welcome two former governors representing dramatically different political perspectives to discuss some of the “hot issues” of our time: gun control, immigration, climate control, and the like. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) and Mike Huckabee (R-AK) will join award-winning journalist Frank Sesno for a session entitled, Can We Talk? The goal of this series is not to score political points or to convince anyone to change beliefs. Rather, our hope is that, in the best of classical Jewish tradition, we can learn to listen to and learn from one another, even when we disagree profoundly.

Both of these programs represent the kind of cutting-edge work that has become Spertus Institute’s signature over the years. We anticipate that each will attract considerable interest. I encourage you to sign up for both as soon as possible. Information is below.


Dr. Hal M. Lewis

Dr. Hal M. Lewis
President and CEO
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

Monday, November 13, 2017

Dr. Hal M. Lewis

Dr. Hal M. Lewis is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. A recognized expert on Jewish leadership, he has published widely in the scholarly and popular press. His books include Models and Meanings in the History of Jewish Leadership and From Sanctuary to Boardroom: A Jewish Approach to Leadership. You can follow his blog at Growing Leaders. He can be reached at