Partnership with JTS Benefits JCC Professionals

Jewish Community Centers Association and Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) are pleased to announce the launch of the Jewish Experiential Leadership Institute (JELI), an online and in-person leadership and professional development program specifically designed for JCC professionals. The fellowship program, supported by generous funding from the Jim Joseph Foundation, is the result of collaborative efforts among the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of The Jewish Theological Seminary, and JCC Association’s Department of Professional Development and Mandel Center for Jewish Education.

The JELI program is designed as an in-service program for middle- and senior-management professionals in JCCs throughout North America. The initial cohort of 20 fellows will learn to apply Jewish frameworks-including values, ethics, texts, and traditions-to setting their organizations’ vision, executing day-to-day management, and developing their own leadership identities. JELI’s primary goal is to enhance the personal growth, Jewish leadership abilities, and professional skill sets of talented emerging leaders working in settings that nurture Jewish experiential education programs.

The first cohort of JELI fellows are:

Allan Bogan- Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC, Milwaukee, WI; Robin Brous- JCC of Central New Jersey, Scotch Plains, NJ; Randy Comensky- Evelyn Rubenstein JCC, Houston, TX; Rebecca Coolong- Springfield JCC, Springfield, MA; Lili Kalish-Gersch- Washington DC JCC, Washington, DC; Shirly Goldstein – JCC of Greater Vancouver, Vancouver, BC; Alyssa Golob – JCC of the Greater St. Paul Area, St. Paul, MN; Ari Golub- Mandel JCC of Cleveland, Beachwood, OH; Melanie Gruenwald – Robert E. Loup JCC, Denver, CO; Anne Liss Johnson – JCC of Stamford, Stamford, CT; Marshall Kurland – Sid Jacobson JCC, East Hills, NY; Michele Levine        – JCC of the East Bay, Berkeley, CA; Eve Lunt – Barbara & Ray Alpert JCC, Long Beach, CA; Betzy Lynch – Memphis JCC, Memphis, TN; Elana MacGilpin – Mandell JCC, West Hartford, CT; Jill Madsen – Sabes JCC, St. Louis Park, MN; Leslie Meyers – 92nd Street Y, New York, NY; Jodi Miller – Marcus JCC of Atlanta, Dunwoody, GA; Julie Varkonyi – Roth JCC of Greater Orlando, Maitland, FL; Will Winer – JCCs of Greater Boston, Newton, MA.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the 20 JCC staff members to learn together as a group as they add Jewish leadership skills to their professional toolbox,” said Joy Brand, associate vice-president of professional development at JCC Association. “We are very pleased to be partnering with JTS, and are thankful to the Jim Joseph Foundation for making this program possible.”

JELI is part of The Davidson School’s Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI), funded as part of a five-year, $15 million grant awarded by the Jim Joseph Foundation to support the training of Jewish educators at JTS. The grant is part of a $45 million initiative to support educator training programs at Yeshiva University, The Jewish Theological Seminary, and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. The ELI aims to develop new and enhanced graduate and professional development programs involving Jewish experiential education. The Davidson School, the largest pluralistic graduate school of Jewish education in North America, found the JCC Association a natural partner with which to create and implement a professional development program to support and enhance this field.

“We are happy to be partnering with JCC Association,” said Mark S. Young, program coordinator of the Experiential Learning Initiative at The Davidson School. “Our charge is to train more and better educational leaders who will foster the growth and success of Jewish experiential education programs and settings, and this institute is an innovative approach to do just that.”

Fellows will be taught by JTS faculty, JCC Association professionals, and outside educators. Fellows will also work with program mentors, senior Jewish educational leaders who will meet with them individually to identify personal areas of professional growth and guide them throughout the 15-month program. Fellows in the program will attend-in addition to the online program components-three in-person instruction sessions, which will take place May 6-9, 2012, at the JCC Association Biennial Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana; November 12-15, 2012, at the Program Retreat in New York, New York; and March 3-6, 2013, at the JCC Association Professional Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Both JTS and JCC Association look forward to sharing updates throughout the next year.

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