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Second Cohort of JELI Fellows Begin Training Program

The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and JCC Association are pleased to announce the second cohort 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 Jewish Community Centers throughout North America. The 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 JELI experience enhanced my work as a JCC professional in so many ways,” said Elana MacGilpin, JELI fellow from Cohort 1 and currently the director of community engagement at the Mandell JCC in West Hartford, Connecticut. “From the monthly webinars focused on leadership skills based on Jewish texts, to the in-person retreats and conferences, my JELI mentor, and the supportive learning environment – I have never had a professional development opportunity as rich as this. My JCC life can be quite hectic so taking the time to learn, reflect, process and plan ways to implement what I have gained is truly valued.”

Fellows will be taught by JTS faculty, JCC Association professionals, and outside educators. They 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 18-month program. In addition to the online program components, fellows will attend four in-person retreats, the first of which will take place in November in New York City. The other retreats are scheduled to be held in March 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama; November 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri; and at the JCC Association Professional Conference in Orlando, Florida in spring 2015.

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. The Davidson School, the largest pluralistic graduate school of Jewish education in North America, found JCC Association a natural partner with which to create and implement a professional development program to support and enhance this field. JCC Association is the leadership network of the JCC Movement, comprising almost 350 JCC, YM-YWHA, and day and overnight camp sites in North America. JCCs make up the largest network of Jewish early childhood education centers and camps in North America, and welcome an estimated two million users annually.

“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.”

“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.”

For more information about the Jewish Experiential Leadership Institute, contact Joy Brand at [email protected] or Mark S. Young at [email protected].

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