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Certificate in Jewish Leadership

Certificate in Jewish Leadership

Sponsored by Northwestern University and Spertus Institute, the Certificate in Jewish Leadership (CJL) is dedicated to enhancing the professional abilities of Jewish leaders.

The program is rooted in the belief that Judaism has its own distinct and insightful approaches to leadership. Through lectures and group work led by senior Northwestern University and Spertus Institute faculty, CJL Fellows learn to be skillful supervisors, manage change, and cultivate their own personal leadership styles. The curriculum draws from best practices in contemporary leadership and from classical Jewish texts and thought.

Traditionally, programs for Jewish leadership have focused either on management skills or Jewish literacy. In this program, leadership training is taught within a distinctively Jewish context. Participants learn to strengthen their own leadership, articulate vision, motivate stakeholders, improve collaboration, achieve organizational goals, and execute plans for the future.

For Staff and Trustees of Jewish agencies 
and organizations in the US and Canada

A hybrid version of the Certificate in Jewish Leadership launches this fall!

The program will be presented through a combination of onsite seminars (at the Spertus Institute campus in Chicago) and online content. Details and registration will be available at the end of March. The deadline for preferred admission will be June 30.

Interested in learning more or getting dates and details when they are available? Contact Spertus Director of Enrollment Anita Silvert at or 312.322.1707.

Curriculum for Chicago session currently underway

The curriculum is a four-module sequence offered on Northwestern's Evanston campus and at Spertus Institute in Chicago's South Loop. It begins with an intensive two-day seminar and continues with three modules, scheduled as below.

The program includes mentoring with established Jewish community leaders.

CJL Fellows proceed through the curriculum as a cohort, which provides opportunities for peer learning and networking.

Module 1: Models of Jewish Leadership
Taught by Dr. Hal M. Lewis
Two daytime sessions
Sunday and Monday, November 13-14, 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Meets at Spertus Institute

Module 2: Communications for Leaders
Taught by Aleen Bayard
Three weekday evening sessions
Mondays, December 5, 19, and 26, 6:00-9:00 pm
Meets at Spertus Institute
Includes Leadership Skills Assessment

Module 3: Collaboration
Taught by Dr. Gail Berger Darlow
One daytime and one evening session
Sunday, January 8, 9:00 am-3:00 pm and
Monday, January 9, 6:00-9:00 pm
Meets at Northwestern's Evanston Campus
Kresge Hall, Room 3410

Module 4: Leading People Through Change
Taught by Dr. Russ Rogers
Three weekday evening sessions
Mondays, January 30 and February 6 and 27, 6:00-9:00 pm
Meets at Spertus Institute

Taught by Dr. Hal M. Lewis
One daytime session
Sunday, March 5, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
Meets at Spertus Institute

About Northwestern University

  • Preeminent university recognized internationally as a hallmark of academic excellence.
  • Provides students with exceptional opportunities for intellectual, professional, and personal growth.
  • SPS instructors bring outstanding academic credentials and relevant professional experience to the classroom to create a highly interactive, collaborative, and challenging learning environment.
  • SPS students study with peers who have rich, diverse backgrounds and can provide lifelong learning connections.

About Spertus Institute

  • Long and rich history of innovative programming that serves the needs of Jewish educators and communal professionals.
  • Outstanding, diverse, and non-denominational offerings are multifaceted, grounded in Jewish thought, inspired by Jewish values, and resolutely relevant to contemporary life.
  • Graduate-level degree programs, professional certificates, and workshops blend theory and practice and are taught by leading faculty with real-world experience.
  • Serves students around the globe through on-campus and distance-learning programs.

Learning Outcomes

To earn the certificate, Fellows must complete all four modules and the capstone. Fellows who complete the certificate program will be able to:

  • Analyze, explain, and model what it means to be an effective leader by drawing upon Jewish scholarship, classical texts, and best practices
  • Apply ethical principles based on Jewish traditions into daily leadership practices
  • Demonstrate an understanding of key qualities of effective leadership based on contemporary leadership theory
  • Develop a repertoire of supervisory, conflict resolution, and change management skills
  • Implement strategies and techniques for effective collaboration, team building, and communication
  • Synthesize what is learned in this program to solve problems within the organization(s) with which the participant works

Apply now


"I gained business skills, collaboration skills, and greater self-awareness."
— Susan Levin-Abir, Midwest Regional Director of Development, Hadassah


“I have been able to take what I learned in each class and use it to enhance the work I do professionally.”
— Michael Waitz, North American Director, Shorashim

“...taught me to be more effective as a leader.”
— Sheri Hokin, Trustee, Jewish Women's Foundation

“I strongly recommend this program to lay and professional leaders in the Jewish community.”
— Shalom Klein, Vice President, Moshe Klein and Associates and Director, Jewish B2B Networking

Is this program for me?

This program has been developed for established and emerging leaders (including lay leaders) of Jewish organizations.

To date, we have served leaders of organizations focused on social service, philanthropy, education, culture, and advocacy.

We have found that newly promoted managers and directors — and the organizations they serve — have much to gain from this program.

Consultants and professionals working outside the Jewish community will also find the program offers benefits to their work through its focus on best practices in a Jewish context.

Professional Mentoring

Mentoring is a unique and essential aspect of this program.

Each CJL Fellow is assigned a professional mentor who has extensive senior-level Jewish leadership experience. Mentors work closely with Fellows to identify areas for professional growth, discuss professional challenges, and help foster professional application of the program's content.

Mentors to date have included:

Aleen Bayard, Founder, MarketZing and Adjunct Faculty, Northwestern University

Audra Berg, Associate Vice President of Leadership and Campaign, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

Aaron Cohen, Vice President, Communications, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

Daniel Elbaum, Director, American Jewish Committee, Chicago Regional Office

Greg Gross, President & CEO, Michael Reese Health Trust

Dr. Elliot Lefkovitz, Former Director of Education, Congregation Am Yisroel and Faculty, Spertus Institute

Dr. Hal M. Lewis, President and CEO, Spertus Institute

Dr. David Rubovits, Senior Vice President of Planning and Allocations, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

Emily Soloff, Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, American Jewish Committee

Stefen Teodosic, Executive Director, Beber Camp

Jill Weinberg, Midwest Regional Director, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Mark Weiner, President and CEO, Council for Jewish Elderly (Chicago)

Richard Zelin, Vice President of Development, Sinai Health System

Did you know?

Tuition and fees paid out-of-pocket
for accredited higher education certificate programs like this one may qualify for a deduction on your federal taxes, depending on your income.
Check with your tax adviser for details.

Downloadable Info Sheets

Cultivating Organizational Leaders