Famed Jewish Heritage Program Coming to Philadelphia

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Class 25 of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. Photo: The Wexner Foundation Facebook page.

The Wexner Heritage Program was established in 1985 to expand the vision of Jewish leaders and develop their skills with intensive training in religious and institutional foundations of our community.

In a meeting of non-profit agency executives called by Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia this month, plans for a new Wexner Heritage Program to be launched in Philadelphia were announced by Rabbi Deborah Glanzberg-Krainin.

The program was last offered in Philadelphia in 1991. Rabbi Jay Henry Moses, Director of the Wexner Heritage Program, described the goal and methods used to develop leadership, based in part on studying Torah and Talmudic sources. The program runs two years, including three one-week summer programs, and evening classes every other week through the winters.

Rabbi Moses taught a tractate from the Babylonian Talmud as an example of the ways in which the Wexner program draws lessons in great leadership applicable to community needs today. He explained that leadership means to the Wexner Foundation the ability to recognize the basic factors that require change in the community, mobilizing people to tackle change, and timing change to “disappoint people at the rate they can tolerate.”

The Jewish community today faces issues surrounding Israel, the weakening of traditional Jewish lifestyle, and other challenges, and has need for a younger generation of adaptive leadership, according to Moses.

The Wexner Heritage Program is focused on community people, generally between the ages 30 and 45. The Foundation and Federation will seek up to 20 qualified participants for the program, which is expected to cost approximately $700,000, with half coming from the Foundation, and half from special fundraising by the Federation.

A form for use to nominate promising individuals is available on the Wexner Foundation website.