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Spertus Institute Jewish Professional Studies Program Comes to Milwaukee

Spertus Institute Jewish Professional Studies Program Comes to Milwaukee


Program to provide strategic leadership training for those
who serve Milwaukee’s Jewish community.  

(Milwaukee) The Milwaukee Jewish Federation is joining forces with Chicago-based Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership to bring an innovative educational opportunity to the men and women who work for Milwaukee’s Jewish agencies and organizations.

Spertus Institute’s Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies (MAJPS) program is a two-year-long, part-time graduate program specifically designed to advance the business expertise and Jewish knowledge of professionals working in the Jewish community. Taught by distinguished faculty who are experts in their fields, the program combines important grounding in classical and contemporary Jewish thought with much-needed professional training in those areas of nonprofit management and education that most affect Jewish communal work. A mentoring component affords students the opportunity to learn one-on-one from acknowledged leaders in their field, with mentors helping students apply the material taught in the classroom to real-world organizational life. Students graduate having grown personally and professionally, having cultivated critical leadership skills, built strong communal links, and gained real insight into how to meet Jewish community needs.

Created in 2007, the MAJPS program draws students from a broad range of professional positions. The program’s cohort model of teaching creates a dynamic environment for professionals from across the community to learn from one another. In Chicago, the program has served students from prestigious organizations including the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago, Hillels, the Community Foundation for Jewish Education, the Board of Jewish Education, the Jewish National Fund, United Synagogue Youth, the Solomon Schechter Day Schools, the iCenter, as well as a range of individual synagogues and social service organizations.

Milwaukee joins an impressive list of national and international cities that have embraced this innovative program as a way to enhance the professional development opportunities for communal professionals in their own regions. Building on the successes of the program in Chicago, in 2009 the Jewish Federations of Canada worked with Spertus Institute to create a pan-Canada cohort, bringing together students from Montreal, Toronto, and several smaller communities. The second Canadian cohort will complete the program this fall. With Spertus, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh launched a cohort in 2010. The graduates of the Pittsburgh cohort have already deeply impacted the Jewish community there. Along with the Milwaukee cohort, a third Canadian cohort and a unique Israeli cohort of the program begin this spring.

The idea for bringing the MAJPS program to Milwaukee came from ongoing conversations between Spertus Institute senior staff and the senior leadership at the Jewish Federation and the Coalition for Jewish Learning in Milwaukee. This partnership builds on other ties between Spertus and the Milwaukee community, including the participation of several masters and doctoral students from Milwaukee in Spertus Institute’s Jewish Studies degree programs and collaborations between Spertus and Milwaukee’s Jewish museum.

Milwaukee Jewish Federation CEO Hannah Rosenthal says, “Bringing Spertus Institute Master’s program here to Milwaukee provides our community with an outstanding educational opportunity, without Milwaukeeans having to go to Chicago for classes. The Spertus program will be a gem in our ever-growing options for Jewish education, in this case to advance our Jewish leaders.” 

“In a phrase often used by my Spertus colleagues,” she added, “this program was developed and expanded beyond Chicago because ‘great Jewish communities need great Jewish leaders’!”

Dr. Barry Chazan, Founding Director of the MAJPS program, says, “We are extremely excited that the Spertus Master of Science in Jewish Professional Studies program is expanding to Milwaukee. It is important for emerging Jewish leaders worldwide to have a strong educational foundation on which to support the work they do to bring about positive change within their own communities. Our model of serious study, presented in a user-friendly way for professionals already working in Jewish organizations, is proving to be a breakthrough in terms of training committed, talented leaders.” 

With the generous support of an outside donor, Spertus Institute is able to provide partial scholarships — called Midcareer Fellowships — to qualified students who are employed at a Jewish organization a minimum of 15 hours per week. 

Those interested in applying for the Milwaukee Master of Jewish Professional Studies cohort should contact Dr. Dean Bell, Spertus Provost and Vice President, at 312.322.1791 or

Classes are scheduled to begin in February 2015 and the deadline for priority consideration is November 3, 2014.

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About Spertus Institute

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership 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. Public programs—including films, speakers, seminars, and concerts—take place at the Institute's Michigan Avenue facility, in the Chicago suburbs, and online. For more information, please visit            

Spertus Institute is a partner in serving the community, supported by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

About MJF

Each generation of Jews has the blessing and the responsibility of doing its part to ensure the future of our people. The Milwaukee Jewish Federation represents our community’s collective commitment to this future. We nurture and sustain a vibrant Jewish community through financial resource development, outreach and engagement and community planning.

Friday, September 5, 2014