You are here

New Jewish Leaders

New Jewish Leaders

Spertus Institute Announces New Cohort of Jewish
Communal Leaders 
for Executive Graduate Program  

Eleven organizations represented from ten U.S. and Canadian communities

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership announces a new cohort of communal professionals admitted to the executive-level version of its respected Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies (MAJPS) program.

The prestigious yearlong program serves Jewish communal executives with a decade or more of experience in the field. The cohort includes senior-level professionals from organizations in California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Ontario, Canada, providing participants a network of fellow executives from across North America. Together, cohort members will learn to leverage opportunity, inspire excellence in staff and trustees, and lead through times of change.

Cohort members are Dina Jacobs Bauwens, Membership and Communications Director, Temple Jeremiah, Northfield, Illinois; Mindy Berger, Partnership Manager, Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, Rockville, Maryland; Tamara Donnenfeld, Director of Lifelong Learning, Temple Beth Am, Pinecrest, Florida; Cathy Gardner, Executive Vice President/CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton, Ohio; Risa Goldstein, Director, PJ Library and PJ Our Way, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, California; Steven Greenwood, Development Director, URJ Camp George, Toronto, Ontario; Jenna Kalkman-Turner, Director, Early Childhood Professional Learning, Community Foundation for Jewish Education, Jewish United Fund, Chicago, Illinois; Rabbi Samuel Klein, Chief Jewish Officer, JCC San Francisco, California; Jessica Robins, Director of Admissions, Hannah Senesh Community Day School, Brooklyn, New York; and Rene Rusgo, Director, Jewish Living Center of Greater Toledo, Ohio.

The Executive Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies program is designed to address a key challenge in in Jewish organizational life. Recent studies by The Leading Edge and others confirm a shortage of specially trained Jewish community leaders. Yet in spite of the fact that nearly 75,000 professionals work in the Jewish nonprofit sector, there are very few educational programs to address this gap. This is particularly true at the executive level, where there is a dearth of quality training and professional development opportunities. Spertus Institute created the Executive MAJPS program to fill this void, tailoring the curriculum to ensure that the investment in leadership development made by participants and their organizations pays dividends for their constituents and communities. 

Seminars and courses — some onsite at Spertus Institute’s Chicago campus and some online — are taught by experts in the theory and practice of leading in today’s highly complex Jewish world. Curriculum components include The Role of Israel in Jewish Life, taught by Dr. Rachel Fish, Associate Director of Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University; Leading People Through Change, taught by Dr. Russ Rogers, Director of Graduate Programs at DePaul University’s School for New Learning; and Becoming an Effective Jewish Leader, taught by leadership expert Dr. Hal M. Lewis. After ten years as the CEO of Spertus Institute, Dr. Lewis will step down from that role in June. He will continue at Spertus in a part-time role as Chancellor and will expand the work he does as an advocate for leadership in the nonprofit sector, joining the faculty of the Center For Creative Leadership and serving the needs of nonprofit organizations as the Principal Consultant for the leadership consulting firm of Leadership For Impact LLC.

Additional components of the Executive Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies curriculum include Working with Constituents taught by the program’s Founding Director Dr. Barry Chazan and Jewish Studies for Jewish Executives taught by incoming Spertus Institute CEO and Professor of History Dr. Dean P. Bell. This American Jewish Life will be taught by Dr. Riv-Ellen Prell, Professor Emerita of American Studies and Former Director of the Center for Jewish Studies, University of Minnesota.

This cohort begins with a seminar in Chicago, June 3-5, 2018. To find out more about the program, interested professionals can contact Tal Rosen, Director of Spertus Institute’s Center for Jewish Leadership, at or 312.322.1711, or visit

Friday, May 11, 2018

Image at left

Rabbi Samuel Klein (left) and Jenna Kalkman-Turner (right).