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Spertus builds ties to Austin, TX

Spertus builds ties to Austin, TX

In partnership with Spertus Institute, a platform of support for professional education has taken shape in Austin, Texas

Judaism celebrates lifelong learning. But for Jewish professionals — the staff serving the Jewish community — cost is often an obstacle to continuing their professional education. For many, their salaries are lower than their counterparts in the corporate sector. Finding funds for professional development can feel impossible. But this doesn’t indicate a lack of desire.

Spertus programs are designed for students with work and personal obligations. Our programs cost less than many similarly high-quality programs, but cost is still a factor for many communal professionals. This year, generous donors stepped up to close the gap. The results speak for themselves.

When funding is available, students seize the opportunity.

Austin, Texas residents Sylvia and Phil Spertus (from the family for which Spertus is named) offered generous subsidies for any Austin Jewish professional accepted into a Spertus Institute leadership program. In an article for Austin’s Jewish Outlook, they explained, “We believe it will help enrollees and our Jewish community — and it will enable Spertus Institute to better fulfill its mission.” 

With their support, five Austin professionals began Spertus Institute graduate and certificate programs (with additional Austin Jewish community professionals exploring options for next year).

We proudly welcome:

  • Casey Cole of Congregation Agudas Achim (pictured bottom right, above)
  • Angie Harrison of Texas Hillel (top center)
  • Jessica Ochs of Shalom Austin (upper right)
  • Jennifer Rubin of Congregation Agudas Achim (bottom center)
  • Rachel Wimberley of Shalom Austin (left)

Close the Gap!

You can make professional education more accessible for students from your community or favorite organization!

Charitable contributions from donors like you fund more than $200,000 in student scholarships at Spertus each year. This incredible level of support ensures that our programs are accessible to all learners—especially those who serve on the Jewish community frontlines.

Support Spertus students today at

If you are interested in setting up a scholarship fund for your community or organization, please call 312.322.1735.

Sylvia and Phil SpertusSylvia Spertus 1936-2021

Sylvia Spertus, wife of longtime trustee Phil Spertus (with whom she is pictured here), died on July 31, 2021, at her home in Austin, Texas, following her third bout with cancer.  

In a statement, Spertus Institute President and CEO Dr. Dean P. Bell said, "Sylvia Spertus was a visionary leader who worked tirelessly in partnership with Phil to advance the work of Spertus Institute, as well as the larger Jewish communities of Chicago and Austin. She was a tremendous force for creativity and community building, a catalyst who led by example, and a champion of our work.”

Spertus Institute Board Chair Dr. Sharon Silverman added that, “Sylvia was an inspiring leader who cared deeply about Jewish education, culture, and community. Her guiding hand and partnership will be missed greatly.”

The faculty, staff, and Trustees offer their condolences to the entire Spertus family, for whom Spertus Institute is named, and the extended Spertus family of students, alumni, and program participants across the globe.

Donations in Sylvia's memory can be made to Spertus at

Tuesday, September 14, 2021