In This Newsletter

Salute to the Class of 2015
Ellen Smith

Call to "Re-Member," to Rejoin our People
Zohar Raviv

Reflections on Commencement
Beth Lesch

A Gift to Alumni

Culminating Projects

In Honor of Jewish Communal Service

Milender Seminar in Jewish Communal Service

& Alumni News


  Class of 2016
  Summer Fieldwork

  Recent Visitors
  to Hornstein

  Recent Publications

Your Career

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Hornstein Program's impact in the world of Jewish communal service

Impact Newsletter | June 2015

Hornstein Program Class of 2015

With “Unbounded Love
  and Pride” in the
  Class of 2015! 

It is with “unbounded love and pride,” said Ellen Smith, Director of the Hornstein Program, that we congratulate the Hornstein Program’s Class of 2015 on the occasion of their graduation! 
“You studied long and seriously,” she reminded them. “You have asked hard questions of the faculty, of one another, and of yourselves. You have the intellect, the caring, and the curiosity to probe deeply for the easy, and for the hard truths and for the solutions. You are very brave. You will now deploy these skills to the advantage of us all to work in the in the Jewish community to better all our lives and the lives of those to come. We owe you many grateful thanks.
“So thank you Edana, Ashley, B, Eli, Meredith, Joe, Heather, Beth, David M, Evan, Sabrina, Nate, and Aaron. Thank you for your passion to learn Jewishly, to consider how history, data, and leadership, and fundraising, and policy, can be assessed and activated through Jewish teaching and values. Thank you for being our partners in learning, the glory of graduate school where learning is intensive and communal and reciprocating!”
The program was opened and closed by Sabrina Taran MA/MBA’15, who chaired the planning committee with assistance from Professor Mark Rosen. The invocation was offered by Rachel Fish, Associate Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. The keynote address was presented by Zohar Raviv, a member of the Hornstein Program’s Class of 2000. (See an excerpt of his address below.)
Hornstein Class of 2015 Commencement Day Ceremony, May 17, 2015

The ceremony was preceded by lunch and followed by a dessert reception.

VIDEO: Class of 2015 Commencement Day Ceremony>

PHOTOS: Class of 2015
Commencement Day photos>

Zohar RavivA Call to
to Rejoin
Our People

Dr. Zohar Raviv, MA’00, (pictured at left) is this year’s recipient of the Hornstein Program’s Bernard Reisman Professional Excellence Award. The following is an excerpt of his keynote address given to the Class of 2015 on the occasion of their graduation. 

Receiving an award from the Hornstein Program is a great honor in itself, but receiving an award named after Bernard Reisman—a man, a mensch and a master educator whom I had personally known and deeply loved—is a different feeling altogether.
I am deeply humbled by it, as Bernie Reisman and his Hornstein faculty peers, some of whom are present here today, played a vital role in shaping my own thoughts on Judaism, on education, and most importantly, on the need to negotiate raw passion with intellectual integrity, conviction with practical skills, and the understanding that people will forever be far more complex, challenging, and beautifully unique to succumb to any theoretical canopy that wishes to bind them and their needs as one. 
The time I spent in Bernie’s orbit has shaped my own professional trajectory, and his words served as precious context in many conjunctions along my path. Read the full address>

Reflections on
Commencement –Beth Lesch

Difficult Beginnings Give Way to Peace

The following is an excerpt of an essay written and presented by Beth Lesch, MA/MBA’15 (pictured at right) at commencement. 

Our rabbis discuss the notion of beginnings in the Mekhilta, an ancient collection of interpretive expansions on the book of Exodus. There, Rabbi Yishmael tells us that “All beginnings are difficult.”

What is that supposed to mean exactly? Is the beginning of a new year difficult? The beginning of a marathon? The beginning of Brenda’s accounting class? What makes something a true “beginning” and what’s difficult about it? Read the full speech> 

Meredith Grabek and David Manchester present the Class of 2015 gift

A Gift to Alumni

The Class of 2015 put alumni at the top of their list with a gift to the Hornstein Program Alumni Fund. Their gift consists of financial support of one of several programs that they’ve proposed and time to help organize the program that we ultimately choose. Meredith Grabek and David Manchester agreed to be our point-persons representing the Class of 2015.
Help us choose an alumni program!
The Class of 2015 recommends three possible events:
1. Hornstein Day-of-Learning
2. An inaugural Hornstein Alumni Reception
3. Mentorship Program that would match current students with Hornstein graduates whose work reflects the particular interest of the student.
Please submit your choices on Survey Monkey. Your answers will help us decide which program and/or event will be most feasible and attractive to alumni.

The faculty and staff of the Hornstein Program thank the Class of 2015 for their thoughtful generosity.

Class of 2015, culminating projects presentation

Culminating Projects

Each student in the graduating class dedicates copious hours to a project, a thesis, or a "team consulting project." They are wide-ranging, this year focusing on the unique educational needs of the Jewish community to the rituals of Shabbat at Brandeis, and much more in between.

Susan Olshansky SingerThis year's culminating projects were presented on April 28. Susan Olshansky Singer (pictured at left) gave the opening remarks on behalf of her brother Kenneth Olshansky.

"A community doesn’t survive for 5,000 years without strong leadership. It’s encouraging to see our future in your good hands," Susan told the Class of 2015. 

Recalling the legacy of Bernard Olshansky z”l, Susan and Ken's father and the benefactor of the Bernard Olshansky Jewish Continuity Fund that supports the presentation ceremony, Susan encouraged the group to recognize the "power of positive dissatisfaction."

"There are a lot of reasons each of you has chosen to work for the Jewish community—whether it’s continuity, or connectedness, or a desire to give back. But, as you move forward in your careers, there will be days when it’s hard to be idealistic. So, with my father’s example in mind—seize those moments. Let dissatisfaction… or disillusionment… or disgruntlement… motivate you, too, to “do something about it!” 

The Projects

From Hidden Gem to Crown Jewel: Envisioning a Future for the Vilna Shul, Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture
  Hornstein/Heller MA+MBA TCP Presentation by Edana Chaya Appel, Beth Lesch, and Meredith Lynn Grabek

Horace Kallen, Judah Magnes, and American Liberal Zionism in the Early 20th Century
  Hornstein/NEJS MA+MA Thesis Presentation
  Eli Cohn

Increasing Enrollments in Jewish Early Childhood Education, a Policy Analysis for CJP
  Hornstein/Heller MA+MPP Capstone Presentation
  David Manchester

Connecting the Next Generation: A Case Study in Shabbat
  Hornstein/NEJS MA+MA Thesis Presentation
  Evan Taksar

A Vision for Coherent Israel Education: The Makom Matrix, The Right Angle Vector, and Diagonal Pedagogy
  Hornstein/NEJS BA+MA Thesis Presentation
  Aaron Weinberg

Cultivating a Sense of Belonging: The Role of Childhood Jewish Education
  Hornstein/Heller MA+MPP Capstone Presentation
  Nathan J. Vaughan

Bringing Israel Engagement Online: MySababa’s response to the post-Birthright Challenge
  Hornstein/Heller MA+MBA TCP Presentation
  David Bigio, Joe Hyams, and Sabrina Taran

Guide to Understanding Friday Night of Shabbat at Brandeis University
  Hornstein/NEJS MA+MA Project Presentation
  Heather Kurfert

For summaries of these projects, download the program>

In Honor of Jewish Communal ServiceAlyssa Bogdanow

Alyssa Bogdanow MA/MA'16 (pictured at right) is this year's recipient of the Bernard and Rena J. Olshansky Prize for Jewish Communal Service.

This annual award was established six years ago by a generous gift of Bernard Olshansky z”l, an extraordinary Jewish communal professional and alumnus of The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and Rena J. Olshansky, alumna and trustee emerita of Brandeis University. The award recognizes "a first-year Hornstein student who has distinguished him/herself through work in a Jewish communal agency and who displays extraordinary commitment to the Jewish community." 

Alyssa is enrolled in Hornstein’s dual degree program leading up to a Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Leadership and a Master of Public Policy. Born and raised in Lexington, Massachusetts, Alyssa stayed in New England for her undergraduate studies at Wesleyan University. There she graduated with honors, having double-majored in Anthropology and Religious Studies for a cross-disciplinary senior thesis that explored the anthropological aspects of religious conversion.

Alyssa has served as a Goldman Bridge Fellow in the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Washington Regional Office, worked for Israel Outdoors, and served as the NFTY Assistant Coordinator of Finance and Event Logistics at the Union for Reform Judaism.  

In the summer of 2010, Alyssa was an AJC Goldman Fellow in Warsaw, Poland, where she worked with Forum for Dialogue Among Nations. 

She was recently spotlighted for her social activism when she joined the American Jewish World Service’s (AJWS) three-day 2015 Policy Summit to lobby for laws to protect women and girls against violence and to advance the legal rights of people in the LGBT global community.

Alyssa will complete her Hornstein degree in the coming academic year, graduating in the Spring of 2016.

Milender Seminar 2015 

Milender Seminar in
Jewish Communal Leadership

Here at the Hornstein Program, we are dedicated to fostering Jewish community building in all the many shapes and forms this takes in the 21st century and to nurturing the Jewish professionals eager and inspired to lead the way.

This year we welcomed Rabbi Sharon Brous from IKAR as our 2015 Milender Fellow, selected by Hornstein students for her candor, her approach to engagement and “inventive religious practice,” and her commitment to social justice issues. Newsweek and The Daily Beast has named her one of the fifty most influential rabbis in the nation.

Evan Taksar at the Milender Seminar 2015When Evan Taksar, MA/MA’15, student co-chair of the Milender Seminar with Naomi Rosenfeld, MA/MBA’16, learned she could play a part in selecting this year’s Milender fellow, she nominated Rabbi Brous.

“I found her to be extremely compelling and very special,” said Evan (pictured at right). “What she was saying made a lot of sense to me — especially in terms of understanding my generation’s attachment to religious institutions and religious practice.”

Visit our webpage dedicated to the Milender Seminar to learn more and download materials for further reading.

PHOTOS: See pictures at Facebook>

Thank you to Sumner Milender for his unwavering support of this program, and for joining us, as he has, on each and every occasion!

Milender panel discussion, March 30, 2015

How to Build Engaging,
Spiritual, and Relevant

The Milender Seminar concluded on the evening of March 30 with a public panel discussion.

The panel, “Engaging, spiritual, & relevant congregations—What does this mean & how do we build them?” was moderated by Professor Amy Sales. The panelists were Rabbi Sharon Brous, Rabbi Baruch HaLevy, Rabbi Sharon Anisfeld, and Rabbi Dan Judson. The panel was introduced by Brandeis President Frederick M. Lawrence.

VIDEO: Watch the panel discussion>

Alumni News>


Class of 2016 Summer Fieldwork

Hornstein students spend a minimum of 150 hours working for a Jewish organization prior to graduation, either during the summer after the first year of the program or during their second year.

Here are a few of the cutting-edge organizations where Hornstein students are interning this summer. We value our strong network and relationships that enables and supports the accomplishment of important work in the Jewish community and beyond.

  • Center for Jewish Education, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Mayyim Hayyim, Newton, Massachusetts
  • American Jewish Committee, Washington, D.C.
  • Jacobson Family Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Jewish Venture Mentoring Service, Brookline, Massachusetts
  • Jewish Leadership Pipelines Alliance, New York, New York
  • Sharsheret, Teaneck, New Jersey
  • Gann Academy, Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Boston, Massachusetts

Read more about fieldwork>

Recent Visitors to Hornstein

The iCenter's Michael Soberman joined us earlier this month in talks about their "Masters Concentration in Israel Education," an annual program in which seven current Hornstein students, as iCenter Fellows, are participating. Read more>

Rabbi Charles Simon from the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (FJMC) shared his work in building community for Jewish men with us on April 15. Read more>

Keshet trainer Suzie Jacobson joined us in March. She raised issues of language and proposed strategies we can use in our efforts to make the Jewish community inclusive of all, specifically, people who identify as LGBTQ. Read more (and download resources)>

Arnee Winshall and Alan Leifer took time out of their busy schedules in late January to come to Brandeis and speak to Hornstein students about boards of directors and their roles in nonprofit management.

Recent Publications

“Lincoln and the Jews: A History,” is a new book by Hornstein Chair, Jonathan D. Sarna and Benjamin Shapell. The Brandeis University Alumni Association and the Shapell Manuscript Foundation celebrated the new book with an event on April 28.

"Discovering Israel at War: The Impact of Taglit-Birthright Israel in Summer 2014," Michelle Shain, Leonard Saxe, Shahar Hecht, Graham Wright, Theodore Sasson; Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University; February 2015.

"2014 Greater Seattle Jewish Community Study," by Leonard Saxe, Janet Krasner Aronson, Matthew Boxer, Matthew Brown, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute, Brandeis University; January 2015.

Ramp-Up Your Career

Jewish organizations need capable professionals to take over the reins of retiring executives. The Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University is preparing the next generation of Jewish leaders to fill these positions and lead the Jewish community. 

Share our program with your colleagues and friends. Let's ensure the Jewish community moves forward with strong and qualified leaders ready to take up the challenges of the 21st century.

Learn more>

Apply now> 

This issue of Impact was conceptualized and produced by 
Claire Pavlik Purgus, program manager at the Hornstein Program, who also conducted the interviews. Articles not otherwise signed were written by Claire.

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