ACHARAI Fellows Program
The goal of the ACHARAI Fellows Program is to empower Jewish leaders to be more informed, thoughtful and effective leaders of their Jewish organizations and community by developing leadership competencies through a Jewish lens.
We hope that our Fellows will lead Baltimore Jewish organizations that play a critical role in a thriving community and develop a clear, shared vision of what success looks like for each one.
Immersive Leadership Experience for Top Leaders
IF YOU ARE IN LINE AS A TOP LEADER of a synagogue, Jewish agency, day school or other Jewish organization in our community, the ACHARAI Fellows Program will serve you and your organization well.
FELLOWS COME TOGETHER over a 10-month period for interactive classes to grow their understanding of leadership theory through a Jewish lens.
Every other year, a new cohort begins. Highly qualified leaders are selected (maximum of 22) via a competitive application process. Each applicant needs to submit an application, along with being nominated by their sponsoring organization. The tuition of the Fellows Program is $1,800 – organizations may choose to share the obligation with the nominee. Scholarships are available. For more information contact Beth H. Gansky, Executive Director.
Rolling application deadline.
Ellen B. Kagen Waghelstein, MSW, AFP Faculty and Leadership Coach
Ellen is an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University and Director of the Georgetown Leadership Academy, a national learning and consultation effort on effective leadership and change management for professionals and civic activists. She has over 30 years of experience training, coaching and facilitating at the national, state and local levels and regularly works with such entities as the World Bank, Council of Chief State School Officers, National Council on Mental Wellbeing, The Harvard Berkman/Klein Center, US State Department, Michigan Office of Children, Youth and Families, Missouri Department of Mental Health, New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities and Maryland Child Welfare Academy. She currently directs the Kagen Fellows Program in Washington State and Georgia and created Coach Approach Partners to teach coaching and communication skills to leaders across the county. She is on the founding faculty of Preside, a national program that links Leadership and Governance through a Jewish Lens.
In addition to her professional experience, Ellen has a wide range of lay leadership involvement at the local, national and international levels. She is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program and is a past chair of the National Young Leadership Cabinet of Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values. She currently serves on the boards of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and is a trustee of their Jewish Community Foundation. She is the 2019 recipient of the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland award and was recently selected to join the Shalom Hartman Muslim Leadership Institute. She also served on the founding Board of BBYO and two innovative start-ups, Judaism Alive and JChoice. Ellen was the founding president of the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning, the collaborative education and identity building agency in Greater Washington, DC where she successfully integrated three separate organizations into one new entity. She also co-led the efforts to create a nationally recognized, community-wide, teen identity agency called JET, Jewish Experiences for Teens.
Ellen and her husband David established the Waghelstein Family Hopes and Dreams Endowment Fund to further advance leadership opportunities for emerging activists. Ellen is delighted to continue her service to the Baltimore Jewish Community through her work with ACHARAI and Na’aleh.
“ACHARAI has completely changed the way I see my leadership, starting with the concept of leader, not a role but a series of behaviors that can be practiced from any chair at the table.”
MELISSA CORDISH, Class V, The Associated
“ACHARAI gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other, share current challenges and offer advice to one another. This experience continues to be both enlightening to me and meaningful support as well.”
AVI GREENLINGER, Class I, Shomrei Emunah Congregation
“The lessons we have learned from our instructors and one another at ACHARAI have impacted my leadership, infiltrated my personal and professional relationships, and transformed my outlook and attitude. I have learned so much from powerful and intense coaching sessions, the thought-provoking and supportive peer groups, and the oral acrobats of giving a D’var Torah and organization presentation.”
LIZ MINKIN FRIEDMAN, Class V, DFI
“Through ACHARAI’s leadership, case study, and peer-to-peer relationship, it has given me the tools and confidence to turn challenges into opportunities and to understand and appreciate the importance of collective thought and dialogue in reaching the organization’s goals.”
FRED HEYMAN, Class V, Capital Camps
“The ACHARAI program has touched Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC) in so many meaningful ways. Karen M. Singer, past chair of JVC and participant in ACHARAI Cohort VI noted, “I so enjoyed meeting other Jewish leaders who are serving Associated agencies and programs, synagogues and other community initiatives. ACHARAI helped me to quickly form a robust network of committed civic leaders (and new friends) to brainstorm initiatives, communication techniques and best practices—trusted confidants who are traveling similar paths, aspiring to assure that each of their respective organizations are meeting and exceeding their Jewish missions and visions.”
ASHLEY PRESSMAN, Executive Director, Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC)
“The core premise of Acharai is that Jewish leadership is based on Jewish learning. Learning that begins with a focus on self-growth within the framework of a community mindset. Learning that nurtures participants to explore who they are as they self-craft their leadership story and journey ahead. Learning that is built upon the beauty of our rich heritage; translating ancient texts into modern tools that are both practical and meaningful.”
Ari Israel, ACHARAI Faculty
ACHARAI is incredibly proud of its over 140 alumni and the leadership they bring to the greater Baltimore community. They are the top leaders across spectrums of organizations and have a shared language they use to mobilize and inspire others.
Alumni could be presidents of their synagogue, agency, school board, or camp; and they may have founded a new organization to serve specific needs in the community. You will find alumni serving on boards of organizations they have connected with because of the peers they met in ACHARAI.
While alumni of ACHARAI represent our diverse community, they share important values of collaboration, willingness to try new ways of doing things, and a dedication to continuous learning. The alumni network becomes an important part of the rhythm of their leadership experiences, and encourages possible partnerships between organizations. They lead with the characteristics of great leaders that have come before them: courage, humility, faith, and hope.