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Letter from the President — Winter 2014

Letter from the President — Winter 2014

Expanding Our Reach as Spertus Institute
Enters Its Tenth Decade

The year 2014 marked our 90th anniversary. It was a year of enormous growth for Spertus Institute, during which we announced two major initiatives:

  • Spertus Green — our environmental initiative that included the decision to power our facility entirely with renewable energy, saving 6200 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere over the next three years.
  • The creation of the unprecedented Center for Jewish Leadership, which will provide volunteers and professionals who lead Jewish organizations opportunities to grow their skills and hone their craft.

In 2015 we set about the task of actualizing these and other new undertakings, in addition to our ongoing work in the areas of Jewish arts and culture, public programming, and advanced Jewish Studies for adults of all backgrounds and faiths.

For more than nine decades, Spertus Institute’s focus has largely been in the city of Chicago. But as we expand our work as an Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership our reputation and our enrollments are growing significantly beyond the Windy City. Today, Spertus MA and Doctoral students hail from 26 US states, and 6 foreign countries. For the past several years, thanks to a program we call Spertus in the Suburbs, select public programs have been offered at venues across the Chicago region in addition to those held at our downtown campus. Happily, many of these popular programs are also available online, thus allowing individuals all over the world access to wonderful opportunities for Jewish learning.

Also in recent years, cohorts of our highly acclaimed MA in Jewish Professional Studies (MAJPS) degree have been offered in the northern Chicago suburbs, in Pittsburgh, and across Canada. Because our students, many of whom are volunteer and professional leaders of Jewish organizations in their respective communities, would never have access to advanced Jewish Studies where they live, Spertus Institute’s presence is making a transformative difference not only for these individual students but for the organizations and institutions they serve.

I am proud to announce that beginning this winter our MAJPS program will begin a new cohort in Canada (our third), as well as, for the first time, cohorts in Milwaukee and in Israel. The Israeli cohort includes several students whose professional work includes high-level educational and programmatic interactions with Jewish communities across North America.

At Spertus, we know that Jewish learning is too important to be limited by geography or other temporal considerations. We also understand that access to high-quality Jewish Studies can be difficult, particularly for working adults who are also busy raising families and contributing to the quality of Jewish life in their own communities. For these reasons, Spertus is profoundly committed to bringing our programs and academic offerings to the broadest number of people possible.

Making the decision to seriously explore the wonders of Jewish Studies can sometimes be challenging, even daunting. We are prepared to do everything possible to minimize the obstacles and maximize the opportunities.

If you share our vision, please join us.

Happy 2015!

Dr. Hal M. Lewis

Dr. Hal M. Lewis
President and CEO
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

Read The Leading Edge, Dr. Hal M. Lewis’ blog about Jewish leadership.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dr. Hal M. Lewis

Dr. Hal M. Lewis is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. A recognized expert on Jewish leadership, he has published widely in the scholarly and popular press. His books include Models and Meanings in the History of Jewish Leadership and From Sanctuary to Boardroom: A Jewish Approach to Leadership. He can be reached at