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.
ACHARAI Fellows Program Desired Outcomes
1. Confident leaders who can share their struggles, illuminate strengths, and embrace vulnerabilities.
2. Proud members of a kehila kedosha – a sacred community of diverse peers to connect, forge bonds, and learn from one another.
3. Understanding of personal values, aspirations, beliefs, and fears that drive behavior and how they inform leadership style.
4. Self-awareness and social awareness to sensitively address interpersonal and group dynamics.
5. Increased knowledge/comfort with Jewish literacy, text learning, and ability to deliver a D’var Torah.
6. Deep knowledge of the Baltimore Jewish community and its history, and respect the diversity and richness of that community.
7. Insight to articulate his/her Jewish story through exploration of their future as a Jewish leader and potential to be a change agent.
“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.