Trans-Denominational Leadership Institute for Synagogue School Principals Accepting Applications for Winter 2008

$1.9 Million Second Grant from UJA-Federation Affirms Initiative to Strengthen Professional Skills and Judaic Knowledge of Educators

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

June 28, 2007, New York, NY

The Leadership Institute for Congregational School Principals (LICSP) is accepting applications for its second interdenominational cohort of educational leaders, to begin in January 2008. 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.

The Leadership Institute 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, and is fully funded by the UJA-Federation of New York, which is continuing its support of this initiative with a second grant of $1.9 million. Initiated two years ago with $1.8 million of support by UJA-Federation of New York, the LICSP has enhanced the leadership capacity of the inaugural cohort of 52 principals of Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Orthodox synagogue schools.

Leadership, Judaic knowledge, and pedagogy, the “three pillars” of the program, serve as the organizing principles for each of the Leadership Institute’s professional development experiences. The leadership component is designed to strengthen each participant’s leadership skills and identity as a leader as well as introduce participants to research on best practices and effective educational practice. The pedagogic track will help educators strengthen their skills and communicate about Jewish learning effectively, using Jewish values, skills, and practices. The Judaic knowledge component enables participants to study text on a regular basis and to incorporate these texts into their practice.

Over a two-year period, educators will 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 will take place on the New York campuses of JTS and HUC-JIR.

The inaugural cohort of fifty-two congregational school principals completed its two-year program in April, 2007. 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.

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.