JTS Partners With SIPA

For students of The Graduate School who dream of effecting positive change throughout the world, The Jewish Theological Seminary has partnered with the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) of Columbia University to expand options for students in the Jewish Professional Leadership program (JPL). The Jewish Professional Leadership program offers students the opportunity to enroll in one of two dual-degree programs to earn a Master of Arts in Jewish Studies through JTS and either a Master of Social Work (MSW) at the Columbia University School of Social work (CUSSW) or a Master of Public Administration (MPA) at SIPA. “The combined education provides a uniquely broad and sophisticated basis for working in the international sphere,” assistant dean of The Graduate School Maud Kozodoy said.

The Jewish Studies component includes American Jewish social history, contemporary issues confronting Jews worldwide, and a trip to Israel. Those enrolled in the social work program examine human behavior in social settings, social welfare policy, and issues in professional practice. Those enrolled in the public administration track at SIPA study public management, non-profit management, public finance, economics, statistics, social and urban policy, and budgeting.

Ira Goldberg, who in 2002 received both an MA in Jewish Studies from JTS and an MPA from SIPA, has worked with Jewish organizations in India, Hungary and the United States. He credits the two degrees with “equipping me to do the type of rewarding work I do now.” Today, as the executive director for the Jewish Institute of Human Values, an organization that promotes universal education, sustainability and peace building, Ira is based at The Hague and remembers the “amazing classes that gave me a solid base in Jewish learning,” a base which he utilizes every day in his work with Jewish communities across the globe.

The program has the unique ability to impact Jewish communities worldwide for many years to come and The Graduate School is currently recruiting top students for the program. “We already have a number of strong applicants for the September 2009 school year,” Dr. Kozodoy said. The enthusiasm was echoed at Columbia University by Matthew Clemons, director of admissions and financial aid for SIPA who noted, “We are proud to partner with JTS. The dual degree program should strengthen our already wonderful program with additional diversity for our student body.”

Upon completion, graduates will be uniquely positioned, like Ira, to be agents of change in the Jewish community. Said Ilene Scholnick, JPL Program Director, “We believe that these students will set new standards of excellence throughout their career because of their comprehensive foundation of knowledge and skills, and the network of relationships developed through this program.”