On Sunday, December 11, 2011, 15 Canadian Jewish community professionals were the inaugural recipients of a Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies from The Spertus Institute and Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA. Community leader and philanthropist Barbara Bank was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa. The ceremony and reception took place at Federation CJA in Montreal.
“The Spertus Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies graduate degree program was conceived to meet the needs of those working in the diverse organizations that serve and inform the Jewish community. It is a unique partnership program between Spertus and Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA which provides important grounding in classical and contemporary Jewish knowledge, combined with much-needed professional training based in the best practices of nonprofit management” said Barbara Bank. “Also, a rigorous mentoring program gives students the opportunity to network with acknowledged leaders in their field.”
Also a program mentor, Barbara Bank addressed the graduating class. “I challenge you to leave here with a commitment to discover what being a leader is for you. Remember that we are as much a composite of the people around us and our experiences as we are from professional skills and knowledge. You leave here today with a new set of valuable tools and the responsibility to use these tools wisely. I know that you will work for the good of the entire Jewish people. I am confident that you will find new and creative ways to bring young Jewish people together so that they feel that the Jewish world is relevant to their lives as well as to continue to inspire those who have worked so hard to ensure the strength of Canadian Jewry.”
The objective of the partnership program is to develop a cadre of skilled and knowledgeable Jewish professionals committed to developing a long career in Jewish communal service. Candidates must already be employed by a Jewish organization and commit to remain professionally active within the Jewish community for at least two years upon graduating.
In speaking to her her peers and colleagues, Sarah Atkins, valedictorian, said, “As young Jewish communal professionals, we are at the forefront of the challenges facing the community today. After two years of work and study, we understand that the challenges we are facing are not new. Communal leaders, both spiritual and secular, have worked tirelessly over thousands of years to keep Jewish communities alive and thriving. We know that what we do as Jewish professionals is not new but it is essential. Without it we would not be the strong community we are today.”
Twelve students are already enrolled in the second session of the Masters of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies program which begins in February 2012.
Additional information on the program can be found on the Spertus website.
image courtesy UIA Federations Canada
(facing the photo, r-l)
Back Row: Marc Gold (President, Jewish Federation of Canada – UIA), Nancy Rosenfeld (Faculty), Hal Lewis (President and CEO of Spertus Institute), Mindy Eklove, Lior Cyngiser, Jeff Bradshaw, Stu Guttman, Alana Kayfetz, Shira Webber, Barry Chazan, (MAJPS Director, Spertus Institute), Michael Soberman (MAJPS Canadian Director, Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA) Dean Bell, (Dean of Academic Affairs, Spertus Institute), Linda Kislowicz, (CEO, Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA)
Front row: Hava Goldberg, Beverley Shimansky, Orly Shapiro Fayer, Michele Pepin, Barbara Bank, (Honorary Degree Recipient), Sabrina Bercovitch, Tamar Yunger, Sarah Atkins, Shauna Waltman