Graduation of the Inaugural Cohort of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education

Friday, May 24, 2013

The 16 members of the inaugural cohort of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education at HUC-JIR received their Master of Arts degree in Religious Education at HUC-JIR/New York Graduation on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. The program has proven to be incredibly successful, with the first cohort paving the way for the cohorts that follow.

Lesley Litman, Coordinator of the Executive M.A. Program, stated, “The members of the inaugural cohort of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education are pioneers in every sense of the word.  They were partners with HUC-JIR in creating a whole new hybrid model of learning that takes place both on campus and online.  Not only will these individuals deeply enrich the field of Jewish education as graduates of HUC-JIR, they have been doing so with every course and learning experience all along in their capacity as full time Jewish educational leaders already in the field.  We are filled with pride and admiration for these 16 talented individuals."

One graduate stated, “This program changed my life. It allowed me to continue growing as an educational leader in my setting, providing me with daily tools to improve my program. This was the opportunity I have been waiting for..”  Another graduate continued, "It has been an incredibly life changing experience for me - not only professionally, but spiritually and personally, as well.”

The graduates of the inaugural cohort include:

  • Deborah Yochim Bram
  • David Loren Cohen
  • Tamara Mirna Donnenfeld
  • Heather Erez
  • Sharon Joy Forman-Toll
  • Michael Greenfield
  • Valerie Hoffman Klein
  • Robin Jill Adelman Leszner
  • Deborah Ellen Massarano
  • Barbara F. Merson
  • Dana Kanter Prottas
  • MagdalenaFossner Reyes
  • Stacy Hileman Rosenthal
  • Judith Kahan Rowland
  • Jill Allenberg Stepak
  • Leah Marion Wolff-Pellingra

Through a series of intensive on-site seminars at HUC-JIR’s campuses in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York; cohort learning in online courses; and mentorship by veterans in the field; our students emerged from this two-year program with enhanced knowledge, honed educational skills, and strengthened leadership capacity to enable them to transform Jewish education in their own institutions.

Generously funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education is designed for educational professionals with a minimum of five years of experience working in the field who seek advanced academic and professional training through a part-time program that allows them to strengthen their skills and knowledge while continuing to live and work in their own communities throughout North America.  

The College-Institute expressed gratitude to those congregations and Jewish education organizations that made the time and provided financial support to students as they worked to enhance their practice as Jewish education professionals and reach this significant milestone.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first 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 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