Shalom Hartman Institute and JCRC / AJC assemble new leadership group after successful pilot project


Members of the cohort pictured with mentors Rebecca Starr, Rabbi Asher Lopatin and JCRC / AJC Associate Director Lauren Garfield-Herrin. (JCRC / AJC)

A new group of nearly two dozen lay leaders will soon begin their apprenticeship as the second DCLP cohort, with several members of the first cohort serving as mentors.

In 2019, the Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI) opened an office in Detroit with support from the William Davidson Foundation.

At that time, Detroit was one of many Jewish communities in North America striving to engage and strengthen Jewish community life, a sense of belonging to a people, and to understand the changing nature of relations between Israel. and American Jews.

Founded in Israel, SHI is a center for transformative thinking and teaching that addresses the major challenges facing the Jewish people today and uplifts Jewish life in Israel and around the world.

SHI North America hired Rebecca Starr to oversee the Midwestern office and her role in the organization has changed as she is also director of regional programs.

When Hartman started bringing ideas and researchers to the Detroit community, they organized four cohort groups. These included educators and rabbis, community professionals and the local Jewish Funders Network.

The fourth cohort was established as a pilot program in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council / American Jewish Committee (JCRC / AJC). The Detroit Community Leadership Program (DCLP) invited applicants to apply to be part of a diverse cohort of the most influential Jewish lay leaders in the Detroit metro area.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin
Rabbi Asher Lopatin

The goal of this group, led by scholars from the Shalom Hartman Institute, was to define a conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between Israel and the Jewish community in North America, to arbitrate the tone and content of a complex community discourse, and bring what they learned to the organizations and institutions in which they hold leadership positions.

“The JCRC / AJC is delighted to partner with the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America over the past two years,” said Rabbi Asher Lopatin, Executive Director of JCRC / AJC.

“It is essential that we support community leaders in their study of how Jewish sources and traditions lead to the values ​​and advocacy that the Jewish community and our organization support for the world at large. “

Audrey Bloomberg and Rebecca Starr
Audrey Bloomberg and Rebecca Starr JCRC / AJC
A successful cohort

During the first few months of DCLP, participants had the opportunity to meet and learn in person alongside visiting scholars such as SHI leaders Elana Stein Hain and Lauren Berkun. However, once the pandemic began, the format and goals of the program changed as the sessions were held solely on Zoom, and the trip the group planned to take to Israel in June 2020 with other leaders from across the country. North America has been canceled.

To pivot in the midst of this challenge, the Jewish community conversation developed under these changing circumstances, with participants expanding their conversations to include issues that arose in the wake of the pandemic and the difficult political situations in Israel and the United States. United.

The work has shifted from a focus on Israel exclusively to work that has helped leaders think about the role of leaders in times of crisis.

“Being part of the Detroit Community Leadership Program has exceeded my expectations,” said Audrey Bloomberg, a member of this first cohort.

“I feel so lucky to have participated over the past two years in thoughtful conversations not only with academics, but also with other Detroiters who have all worked in our community. Especially during the pandemic, getting together with my cohort gave me the opportunity to connect with my community in a deeply meaningful way and gave me a break to think about our community from a different perspective. “

She added, “As a volunteer and working in our Jewish community, getting involved in Hartman work has given me the space and the place to think in a different way. Due to my involvement with DCLP, I began to engage with other resources provided by Hartman, such as podcasts.

“I cannot recommend enough that individuals check out the podcasts, virtual summits and articles produced by Hartman. You don’t have to be a cohort to experience Hartman Torah.

Rebecca Starr speaks with cohort members at the first cohort meeting in August.
Rebecca Starr speaks with cohort members at the first cohort meeting in August. JCRC / AJC
New group coming soon

A new group of nearly two dozen lay leaders will soon begin their apprenticeship as the second DCLP cohort, with several members of the first cohort serving as mentors.

Rebecca Starr said, “The Institute is delighted to welcome this incredible group of leaders to the new local cohort. Our work together will provide an opportunity to explore our complex relationship with Israel as the Jews of North America.

Alicia Chandler
Alicia Chandler

“This moment in Jewish history is one that requires study, debate and conversation around the future of the Jewish people,” Starr added.

“I look forward to learning with this DCLP group, as well as Hartman’s other local cohorts of professional leaders throughout the year, and seeing them bring their wisdom to the larger Jewish community in Metro Detroit.”

This year’s topic of study for the cohort includes time spent bringing Jewish values ​​into conversations about Israel. As participants begin their learning, they will explore the ways in which their relationship with Israel unites and divides and how deep polarization affects their work as community leaders.

Each participant will have the opportunity to engage with new ideas and make them work in the institutions they represent.

Participants will meet in person at various locations in the community, and on Zoom for some sessions, and have opportunities for reflection. In June, travel permitting, they will spend an intensive weeklong seminar on the Hartman campus in Jerusalem.

Jon aaron
Jon aaron

Alicia Chandler, outgoing JCRC / AJC president, helped design the DCLP in 2019 and will now be part of the new cohort.

“I am so delighted to be able to participate in this experience through Shalom Hartman. Hartman is the Jewish community’s thought leader on issues of pluralism and Israel-Diaspora relations and it’s so exciting that this learning has been brought to Detroit. “

Jon Aaron, cohort participant, added: “I am delighted and honored to be able to learn with and from some of the greatest minds in the Jewish world. The Shalom Hartman Institute has become the preferred destination for the dissemination of Jewish thought and ideas.

“The Detroit Hartman Cohort brought together some of Detroit’s wisest Jewish individuals and leaders and provided me with the opportunity to learn and develop my Jewish identity alongside these remarkable individuals,” adds Aaron.D.

“I look forward to increasing my Jewish awareness and being able to share my newfound wisdom with my wife and children. “

For more information on the Shalom Hartman Institute and DCLP, visit or email Rebecca Starr at [email protected]. For more information on the JCRC / AJC, visit or email Associate Director Lauren Garfield-Herrin at [email protected].

Second cohort of the Detroit Community Leadership Program:

• Jonathan aaron

• Brad Axelrod

• Alicia Chandler

• Michael curhan

• Suzan curhan

• Andrew Doctoroff

• Ken Gold

• Ryan hertz

• Jeffrey Klein

• Susan klein

• Jodie Krasnick

• Ellen lipton

• Marc Lipton

• Beth margolin

• Steve Margolin

• Andi Nitzkin

• Sarah roberts

• Larry winer

• younger michelle

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