Mentorship - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Kickstart your future as a Jewish leader today

As a student in the Certificate Program in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults, you will be paired with an HUC-JIR graduate who will serve as your mentor. All of our mentors are drawn from leading youth and young adult professionals in Jewish communities in North America. You will meet with your mentor each month of the program. Your discussions will center around the curriculum of the Certificate Program, challenges and accomplishments in the work place, and general professional issues.

The goals of the clinical mentoring component of the Certificate Program in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults are to:

  • Guide you in the process of application – integration – implementation of your learning;
  • Support you as you rethink your role in your organization and develop your capacity to lead institutions through a transformational change process;
  • Help you engage in both personal and professional transformation as you grow and change;
  • Provide continuity and coherence between and among different elements of the experience as you pull the various program components together into a cohesive whole; and
  • Guide you as you complete your Capstone project.

Our current mentors are:

Hope Chernak, MARE, serves Shaaray Tefila in New York City as Director of Youth and Informal Education. Hope brings years of experience in the Reform youth movement, most recently as managing director of NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth). She also has served as the director of NFTY regions, as a regional advisor for NFTY, as regional director of youth and informal education for the URJ Southeast Council, as a synagogue youth group advisor. Hope holds a certificate in Youth, Adult and Family Learning and the MARE degree from HUC-JIR’s New York School of Education.

Rabbi Joui Hessel, MAJE, RJE, serves as East Coast Recruitment and Admissions Associate for the Education Programs of the College-Institute.  Prior to her arrival at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Hessel served Washington Hebrew Congregation from 2001-2014, first as a pulpit rabbi and then as Rabbi and Director of Religious Education and Jewish Engagement. She received an M.A. in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education in 1998 and was ordained from the New York campus of the College-Institute in 2001. She earned her B.A. in Secondary School Education from The University of Georgia.

Rabbi Hessel co-authored The Hanukkah Family Treasury, published by Running Hill Press.  She has been published in the CCAR’s recent publication The Sacred Encounter (2014), in Moment Magazine (June 2007) and in a book on parenting young adult children, Mom, Can I Move Back in with You: A Survival Guide for Parents of Twentysomethings, published by Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium.

Rabbi Michael Mellen is a sought after speaker, trainer, facilitator and consultant. Ordained in 1998 at HUC-JIR’s Cincinnati campus, he has served as Director of NFTY, as a congregational rabbi and educator at Temple B’nai Shalom in Fairfax Station, Virginia, and as a consultant, educator and advisor with a company he founded, Jewish Youth Works.

Rabbi Beth Nichols, MAJE, serves Temple Israel of New Rochelle in both a rabbinic role and directing programs of education for all ages. Ordained at the Los Angeles campus of HUC-JIR in May 2007, Rabbi Nichols completed two Master of Arts degrees: one in Hebrew Letters and the other in Jewish Education at the Rhea Hirsch School of Education

Micol Zimmerman Burkeman, MAJE, serves as staff in the Certificate in Jewish Education program and as HUC-JIR's Experiential Jewish Education Network Liaison. Throughout her career, Micol has served as Director of Education at synagogues across the country and in London, England, as a consultant at The Jewish Education Project in New York, training and mentoring Jewish professionals in the field of teen engagement, and most recently as the National Director of NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth), the Reform Jewish Youth Movement.

Micol received her Masters in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles and her B.A. in Communication at the University of Southern California. During her time at HUC-JIR, she was the recipient of the David and Shirley Toomim Foundation Scholarship and The Rabbi Mordecai and Eve Soloff Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. Micol has served as Scholar-in-Residence in numerous communities and has been invited to present at national and international conferences, including Limmud UK and the URJ Biennial.