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New Leaders Complete Spertus & Northwestern Certificate in Jewish Leadership

New Leaders Complete Spertus & Northwestern Certificate in Jewish Leadership

FOR RELEASE — September 10, 2012                                                            

For more information contact:   

Betsy Gomberg 
Spertus Director of Marketing & Communications or 312.322.1756  

Adam Kashuba
Northwestern University or 312.503.1642


Applications now being accepted for program’s second session

 (CHICAGO) Last December, Northwestern University andSpertus Institute launched a new professional development program, The Certificate in Jewish Leadership. This program combines Jewish scholarship with leading ideas from the contemporary business world to enhance the effectiveness of Jewish leaders.

This October, the first cohort of twelve completes the program, bringing their new leadership expertise to a range of roles and responsibilities in organizations that serve and impact the local Jewish community.

The recipients of the Certificate in Jewish Leadership are: Rhonda Blender, Nursing Development Consultant for the University of Chicago Medical Center; Deanna Drucker, President of the Women’s Board of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and a Trustee of Spertus; Holly Falk-Krzesinski, Vice President of Global Academic Relations and Strategic Alliances at Elsevier and the recent Vice President for Development on the Board of Trustees of Temple Chai in Long Grove; Stacey Flint, Associate Executive Director of Lawndale Christian Development Corporation; Derek Gale, Director of Communications at Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School; Sheri Hokin, Owner of Hokin Sternberg Insurance Services and a Trustee of the Jewish Women's Foundation; Shalom Klein, Vice President of Moshe Klein & Associates, Ltd. and Director of Jewish B2B Networking; Susan Levin-Abir, Director of Strategic Development at Keshet; Thomas Samuels, Membership and Program Coordinator at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston; Jody Schneiderman, Staff Attorney for Cook County; Bonnie Silverman, Director of Early Childhood Center at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation; Ilene Uhlmann, Director of Adult Services at JCC Chicago; and Michael Waitz, Director of Centennial Development at Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.

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. Traditionally, programs for Jewish leadership have focused either on management skills or Jewish literacy. In this program, which draws faculty and expertise from both Spertus and Northwestern, leadership is taught 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.

A unique and essential aspect of the program is its focus on the mentoring of students by seasoned Jewish professional and lay leaders. Inaugural mentors were: Audra Berg, Associate Vice President of Leadership and Campaign at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; Aleen Bayard, Founder of MarketZing and a member of the adjunct faculty at Northwestern; Aaron Cohen, Associate Vice President of Leadership and Campaign at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; Daniel Elbaum, Director of the American Jewish Committee’s Chicago Regional Office; Dr. Michael Kotzin, ל"ז, Executive Vice President of Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; Greg Gross, President & CEO of the Michael Reese Health Trust; Dr. Elliot Lefkovitz, Former Director of Education at Congregation Am Shalom and a member of the Spertus faculty; Dr. Hal M. Lewis, President and CEO of Spertus; Dr. David Rubovits, Senior Vice President of Planning and Allocations at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; Emily Soloff, Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations at the American Jewish Committee; Jill Weinberg, Midwest Regional Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; Mark Weiner, President and CEO of the Council for Jewish Elderly; and Richard Zelin, Vice President of Development at Sinai Health System.

Newly minted leader Michael Waitz said, “I have been able to take what I have learned in each class and use it to enhance the work I am doing professionally.” His co-participant Shalom Klein said, “I benefited from a structure that taught us both the historical and practical elements of leadership. I would strongly recommend the program to lay and professional leaders in the Jewish community.”

Applications are now being accepted for a second cohort of the Certificate in Jewish Leadership. Classes begin in November. More information is available at or by phone at 312.503.0714.

The mission of Northwestern University 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.

Spertusoffers 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 include films, speakers, seminars, and concerts — at the Institute's Michigan Avenue facility, in the suburbs, and online.

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

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