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Spertus welcomes Amie Barrish

Spertus welcomes Amie Barrish

Spertus Institute welcomes Amie Barrish as Assistant Director for Recruitment

Amie Barrish recently joined the Spertus Institute team and is already creatively matching future Spertus students with programs that will change their lives.

Amie Barrish is not the kind of person to let obstacles slow her down. Even a worldwide pandemic.

With a degree from Northwestern University’s renowned Medill School of Journalism, Barrish began her career working for Edelman, a global communications firm. During her seven-year stint, she facilitated public relations and marketing for businesses, many in the fast-paced tech sector that was booming in the late 1990s and 2000s. She credits this time, including her work with both established and start-up companies, as formative, contributing to her strengths as a communicator, rapport builder, and hard worker.

After starting a family, Barrish switched directions and earned an MA in Teaching from National Louis University, displaying the quest for learning and commitment to community that we see among many Spertus students. She taught in a number of Jewish educational settings, most recently serving as a Lead Teacher for JCC Chicago. Embracing a key Spertus value — that leaders keep learning — Barrish took courses through the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And she’ll be a Spertus student herself when she participates in the Certificate in Jewish Leadership program that Spertus Institute proudly presents in partnership with Northwestern University.

Barrish has also been an active contributor to the Chicago Jewish community as a volunteer, sharing her expertise on the board of the Jewish United Fund’s Young Leadership Division and committees for Moriah Congregation in suburban Deerfield. Her two children are alumni of Solomon Schechter Day School. Throughout their education, she has been an active parent volunteer, first at Schechter and now at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School, where she advises for the student newspaper.

For Barrish, her new role at Spertus combines her passions for Jewish education with her skills in outreach, communications, and community building.

About her appointment, Spertus Associate Dean for Outreach Elana Kahn said, “Amie joined our team with remarkable power and commitment. She sees the big picture, questions old patterns, and thoughtfully guides prospective students to the Jewish learning opportunities most relevant for their own goals and growth.”

Barrish undauntingly began her new position during the restrictions of the pandemic, and she has found the transition easier than expected. “It’s been easy to meet coworkers and prospective students via Zoom — and I’m even adapted to the joys of virtual staff meetings,” she said. “I have been impressed by how hard-working the entire team is, and how committed to ensuring that Spertus programs maintain their caliber of excellence, even during this challenging time.”

She continued, “I’m inspired by the Spertus students, alumni, and applicants with whom I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with so far. Even during this time, Jewish communal professionals are passionately dedicated to their roles and institutions, seeking additional education to serve their communities with new expertise. I love hearing about their career paths and professional goals.”

“I’m also amazed by Spertus Institute’s Jewish Studies students, some of whom are pursuing additional graduate work to deepen the knowledge they bring to their careers — but others solely for the love of Jewish learning. My new favorite activity is playing “Jewish Geography” with applicants and students from across North America — everyone knows someone in common somewhere! I look forward to the time when we can meet in person.”

In answer to questions about time in quarantine, Barrish clued us in on her family’s challah-baking progression — from an occasional experiment to a weekly tradition that everyone looks forward to. The Barrish “house flavor” is traditional za’atar spice mix combined with EVERYTHING BUT THE BAGEL seasoning.” We know that Barrish will bring that same mix of kick and creativity to her Spertus role!

Want to connect with Amie Barrish to discuss how you can continue learning? Contact her at or 312.322.1707.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021