The University of Michigan’s Jewish Communal Leadership Program (JCLP) offers a distinctive education for emerging leaders committed to helping Jewish communities meet 21st-century challenges while addressing boarder social concerns. Housed at the nations’ #1-ranked School of Social Work, it is conducted in collaboration with the University’s renowned Frankel Center for Judaic Studies. JCLP students earn a Master’s of Social Work along with a Certificate in Jewish Communal Leadership. Within the context of a supportive small cohort, JCLP students push themselves and each other to deepen their knowledge of and engagement with Jewish communal issues and concerns. Today’s graduates join more than 145 Project STaR, Drachler Program (our predecessor programs in the School of Social Work), and JCLP alumni working in Michigan, across the United States, and around the world. We are grateful for your attendance today and your support of our students.
Karla has served as the director of the Jewish Communal Leadership Program and professor of social work and Judaic Studies since 2008. Her research focuses on the history of the American Jewish experience with special attention to the history of American Jewish communities and the evolving roles and contributions of American Jewish women. Karla previously taught at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and was historian in residence at the Jewish Women’s Archive in Brookline, Massachusetts. She is the author of Beyond the Synagogue Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism. Karla is an incredible mentor to all the JCLP students, past and present.
Dean Videka has been the dean of the School of Social Work since August 2016. Prior to her appointment, she served as dean of New York University's Silver School of Social Work. Since coming to the University of Michigan, she has engaged the faculty, staff, alumni, students and community partners in a strategic planning process that has resulted in an ambitious strategic vision for the school to lead the entire social work field into the next generation of research, educational innovation and service. Dean Videka is a valued supporter of the Jewish Communal Leadership Program, one of the twelve scholarship programs within the School of Social Work.
Deborah is a professor of history and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. She arrived in Ann Arbor from Vassar College in 2005 and served as Director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies for a decade. Deborah's work as a historian focuses on Jews in the modern era, and she has published several books on topics such as Jewish WWII veterans, American Jewish identity politics, the history of New York Jews, and more. The JCLP students have been privileged to learn from Deborah in courses on American Jewish history and the history of Jews from Italian ghettos to American suburbs.
Beth resides in Seattle, Washington and has enjoyed teaching children and adults of all ages in both formal and informal Jewish educational settings for many years. She currently works at Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Seattle as the Director of Project Kavod, a Jewish educational program that focuses on the Jewish texts and values that inspire and guide the work of JFS. She also teaches at Congregation Beth Shalom in Seattle. Beth is the recipient of a 2010 Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education. The JCLP graduates had the opportunity to learn from Beth last year and have rich dialogue about Jewish text, which was one of their favorite discussions.
Hannah Berger is from Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from Kalamazoo College in 2018 with a B.A. in Religious Studies. During her breaks from school, she worked at the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, where she learned about Judaism’s rich history. During her time in JCLP, she had the privilege of exploring the current Jewish landscape and envisioning what the future of Jewish community could look like. While in the program, Hannah spent time working at the Jewish Family Service of Washtenaw County and organizing the Jewish community in Chicago at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. She also worked for the Community Technical Assistance Collaborative, which helps local under-resourced nonprofits complete evaluation projects. Hannah is just as curious as you are to know where she will go next, but is certain that JCLP prepared her well for it. Hannah would like to thank her parents, Linda and Andy Berger, for their unconditional support. She also wants to recognize her wonderful friends, from this current cohort, and from other parts of her life, who were critical to her success, growth, and happiness throughout these past two years.
Megan Bernard is originally from Grand Blanc, Michigan. She graduated with her B.A. in International Studies and a minor in Law, Justice, and Social Change from the University of Michigan in 2016. Upon graduating, Megan worked for BBYO as an Associate Regional Director in the greater DC area, working with teen leaders to strengthen the Jewish future. Megan has been active in the Union for Reform Judaism, specifically its teen leadership camp, URJ Kutz Camp, for 7 summers. Kutz is where she realized her interest in Jewish communal work and started her journey to become a social worker. Megan completed her field work at Kutz for its 2019 (and final) summer session, as well as at Hazon Detroit (The Jewish Lab for Sustainability) during the 2018-2019 school year. Megan concentrated in Management of Human Services with a minor in Interpersonal Practice, which has led her to her newest venture as Mid-Atlantic Community Manager for Moishe House in Washington, D.C. Megan will be making the move to DC in the coming months.
Lauren Fine, originally from North Carolina, received a B.S. in Communication Studies with a minor in Leadership Studies from Appalachian State University in 2014. After graduating, Lauren was a Repair the World Fellow in Baltimore, tackling issues of food justice and education justice in the city. Before JCLP, Lauren spent three years as the Director of Student Leadership at North Carolina Hillel in Chapel Hill where she worked with student leaders to plan programs, engage their peers, and bring vibrant Jewish life to campus. Lauren came to JCLP to learn more about the Jewish community's role in social justice and discover the field of social work. While here, she completed a year of fieldwork at Detroit Jews for Justice and a summer as a Legislative Fellow at the National Council of Jewish Women in DC. Lauren is excited to return to North Carolina and use the skills she has gained to do Jewish community organizing around racial and economic justice.
Nora Greenstein, originally from Washington, DC, graduated from the University of Michigan in May 2015 with a BA in Psychology, and a minor in History. Prior to JCLP, Nora lived in Los Angeles to work at the University of Southern California as the Program Manager. Through this role she participated in the Ezra Fellowship, a program through Hillel International working on integrating Jewish education and content into engagement methodology. As a JCLP student, Nora studied Management of Human Services with a minor in Interpersonal Practice, completing her field placement at the William Davidson Foundation. After graduation, Nora will be moving back to DC to join the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation as a Program Associate. Nora is incredibly grateful to the deep relationships and questions she has been able to explore through her time in this program.
Sam Langstein, originally from Long Beach, NY, graduated from CUNY Hunter College in 2015 with a BA in Psychology. Before joining JCLP, Sam worked for three years at Footsteps, an organization which supports and affirms those transitioning out of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Sam was a member of the 2015-2016 cohort of Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps and is currently a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar. At the School of Social Work, Sam studied Management of Human Services and completed field placements with Jewish Family Services of Metro Detroit and with Beit T’Shuvah, a residential addiction treatment center in Los Angeles. In graduate school, Sam focused much of his energy studying the interplay between religion, spirituality, mental health, and addiction. He looks forward to continuing this work after graduation wherever he is needed.
Ashley Schnaar hails from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She is a 2018 graduate of Michigan State University where she received her bachelor's degree in Social Work with a minor in Religious Studies. Ashleyâ€™s graduate studies focused on the Management of Human Services and the Jewish non-profit sector. She completed her fieldwork at the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor and Trotter Multicultural Center at the University of Michigan. Ashley also enjoyed being involved in several evaluation projects where she conducted focus groups and reported on organizational impact. JCLP has given Ashley a deep appreciation for the strengths and challenges of the Jewish community, and she has gained lifelong friends in the process. Ashley has accepted a job in the Strategic Planning and Allocations department of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.
Sara Weinfeld is originally from Farmington Hills, Michigan. She is a 2018 graduate of Michigan State University, where she received her BA in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Health Promotion. During her undergraduate years, she held many leadership positions at MSU Hillel, with a focus on increasing participation and engagement of the campus community. At the University of Michigan School of Social Work, Sara studied Interpersonal Practice and completed field placements with Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County and at St. Michael Catholic School in Livonia. She will be receiving a School Social Worker specialization as she hopes to begin her career as a school social worker upon graduation. Sara is thankful for the wealth of knowledge and for the new friendships she gained through JCLP.
When the world is sick
Can’t no one be well
But I dreamt we were all
Beautiful and strong
Translation of Hebrew: I pray, G-d, please heal her (Numbers 12:13)
Translation: My strength with the song of G-d will be my salvation (Psalm 118:14, Exodus 15:2)
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
1080 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106