Trans-Denominational Leadership Institute for Synagogue Schools Receives $1.9 Million Second Grant from UJA-Federation

JESNA Evaluation of Inaugural Cohort Points to Enhanced Leadership Capacity

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

October 22, 2007, New York, NY

UJA-Federation of New York has issued a second grant of $1.9 million to continue its support of the Leadership Institute for Congregational School Principals (LICSP).

Jointly sponsored by The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), the Leadership Institute offers congregational school educators the opportunity to expand their professional and Judaic knowledge and strengthen their vision for school leadership.  An evaluation report by the Jewish Educational Services of North America (JESNA Report, November 2006) revealed substantive growth in the participants’ professional skills, knowledge, and leadership abilities, enhanced personal and professional connection to Israel, and the development of new strategies for professional development for staff including text study, curriculum design, and trans-denominational learning. The value of mentorship for both the mentor and mentee was pronounced.

Created two years ago with $1.8 million of support from UJA-Federation of New York, LICSP has since enhanced the leadership capacity of the inaugural cohort of 52 principals of Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Orthodox synagogue schools.

The program is guided by the vision of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of JTS and the New York School of Education at HUC-JIR. Leadership, Judaic knowledge, and pedagogy, the “three pillars” of the program, serve as the organizing principles.

Over a two-year period, educators participate in two ten-day intensive Summer Seminars, eleven one- or two-day symposia, and a ten-day Israel Seminar. A personal mentor will be assigned to guide and supervise each principal, culminating in the design of an Action Research Project. Grants of $2,000 will be provided to facilitate the implementation of these projects in the congregational schools. Small grants will also be available for participants to create an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) with their mentors. All seminars and symposia take place on the New York campuses of JTS and HUC-JIR.

LICSP is now accepting applications for its second interdenominational cohort of educational leaders, to begin in January 2008.  To qualify, educators must have at least two full years of experience leading a congregational school. Candidates must also demonstrate support from their congregation’s rabbi, board president, and education chair to establish the terms of the financial and time commitments. 

Applications can be found on the Leadership Institute website, Further information is available by contacting Dr. Evie Rotstein, project director, at (212) 824-2248 or

Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world-class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, educational, academic and lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond.

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation's oldest institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and communal service professionals, and offers graduate and post-graduate programs to scholars of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise renowned library and museum collections, the American Jewish Archives, biblical archaeology excavations, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. HUC-JIR invites the community to an array of cultural and educational programs which illuminate Jewish history, identity, and contemporary creativity and which foster interfaith and multiethnic understanding.