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Global Jewish Leadership Seminar

Global Jewish Leadership Seminar

Young leaders come to Chicago for first Global Jewish Leadership Seminar

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership was thrilled to offer the Kaplan Leadership Initiative's first Global Jewish Leadership Seminar, October 8-16, 2018, in partnership with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).

This new professional training program—created through a founding gift from Chicagoans Carol and Ed Kaplan—provides tools and support to cultivate leadership among Jewish community professionals in Europe, Russia, the former Soviet Union, and Latin America.

The program encourages a deeper understanding of Jewish life and peoplehood and establishes platforms for building cross-community relationships. The Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago is a coordinating partner.

The participants came together in Chicago from Jewish institutions in Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, Serbia, the UK, and Ukraine. While here, they participated in workshops, presentations, and talks with community leaders, including a discussion with JUF President Dr. Steven Nasatir and a Leadership Symposium featuring Ruth Messinger of American Jewish World Service. With senior members of the Spertus Institute faculty, they explored topics including power-sharing, situational leadership, and the importance of learning from failure. Participants experienced innovative approaches to Jewish involvement through site visits across Chicago.

Kaplan Leadership Initiative Global Seminar Chicago 2018According to participant Jon Zecharia, Manager of Events and Communications at London’s Westminster Synagogue "The most interesting aspect of the program was getting to know about the global Jewish community, including how communities operate and what we can learn from one another." Ekaterina Zhuravleva, PR and Missions Coordinator of the Maagal Volunteering Project in Moscow, said, “I am now part of a network of global Jewish leaders!"

Their observations exactly match the program’s goals, according to Spertus Institute President and CEO Dr. Dean P. Bell. “When I welcomed them to Chicago,” he said, “I expressed our aim that they leave with enhanced knowledge of Judaism, Jewish history, and Jewish experiences, providing a platform for their Jewish communal work. With our colleagues at the JDC, we sought to provide opportunities for the Kaplan Leadership Fellows to learn best practices, assess and improve their local projects, and, importantly, leave with a network through which to support each other and share knowledge going forward.” 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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Kaplan Fellows with Carol and Ed Kaplan, Spertus Institute, photo courtesy Aleya Cydney Photography.

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Left to right: Ukraine Volunteer Community Projects Coordinator for the JDC Ievgeniya Malitska, JDC Moscow PR and Missions Coordinator Ekaterina Zhuravleva, and Kaplan Leadership Initiative Director Shani Leiman, photo by Tal Rosen.