Meeting the Future Great Leaders of the Jewish People

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Jay H. Geller, Chair, Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, and member of the Board of Governors, HUC-JIR, writes:

I had a wonderful Lunch ‘n’ Learn with 16 of the Year-In-Israel students on Sunday, November 13 on the Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem. As Chair of the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, I wanted to meet with the students to tell them about the Zelikow School program from a lay leader's perspective.  I was particularly pleased that students who will be heading to all three stateside campuses next year were in attendance, as well students from all three schools at HUC-JIR - rabbinical, cantorial, and education.  I spoke to the students about the growing need for Jewish professionals to have a broader understanding of the nonprofit world and the necessity for clergy and educators to be able to operate in a wide range of different professional contexts. On Sunday night, I had dinner with all of the students heading to the Skirball Campus in Los Angeles next year and we had a very robust and productive conversation about life in Los Angeles, life on the Skirball Campus, and reflections on their experiences in Israel so far.

I am in Israel as part of the group from A Wider Bridge, a Jewish LGBT organization headquartered in San Francisco that builds relationships between LGBT groups in North America and Israel.  All of the people on this trip are leaders in the U.S. LGBT community and the majority are not Jewish and are visiting Israel for the first time.  Having been to Israel many times, it is great for me to see how Israel is experienced by them on their first trip.  Meeting with the Year-In-Israel students was an extra added bonus on this trip.  The students I met are an amazing group of young Jews and I am confident that they will grow to become great leaders of the Jewish people in the years ahead.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading 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 North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu