Our texts provide us with so many powerful lessons about leadership! ACHARAI Fellows study these leadership insights on a parallel path with the leadership theory curriculum, thus we describe the core of ACHARAI as “teaching leadership through a Jewish lens.”

I am often asked, “what does that mean?,” and I share an example from parsha Yitro with which almost everyone has at least some familiarity (Exodus 18:13-26): Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, having traveled to Sinai to join Moses and the Israelites, observes his son-in-law, “sitting as magistrate among the people, while the people stood about Moses from morning until evening.” Jethro wisely counsels Moses to “seek out, from among all the people, capable individuals who fear G-d” and to delegate “every minor dispute.” Jethro said, “make it easier for yourself by letting them share the burden with you.” We know that Moses recognized the wisdom of his father-in-law’s advice, implemented it, and a new generation of “capable individuals” learned the skills incumbent of a judge–and Moses was better able to manage the multitude of his other responsibilities. This story seems to resonate with those who have asked for an explanation of what we at ACHARAI mean when we say we teach leadership through a Jewish lens!



Rabbi Ari Israel
Executive Director, Maryland Hillel

Ellen Kagen Waghelstein
Director and Faculty of Georgetown University Leadership Program

Dr. Erica Brown
Director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership, George Washington University

Rae Ringel
President, The Ringel Group, Faculty, Georgetown University Institute for Transformational Leadership

Debs Weinberg
Coach, Founding Executive Director of ACHARAI:
The Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Leadership Institute

Scott Brown
Founder, Scott Brown Leadership Coaching, LLC

Ellen Kagen Waghelstein
Director and Faculty of Georgetown University Leadership Program

Beth Gansky
Executive Director of ACHARAI:
The Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Leadership Institute

*all coaches hold Executive Certificates in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University


Katie Applefeld
The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore

Ken Bell
Har Sinai Congregation

Linda Boteach
The Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations of Maryland

Maureen David
Macks Center for Jewish Education (CJE)

Mindy Dickler
JQ Baltimore

Barbara Fink
Hadassah Greater Baltimore

Jonathan Fishman
Beth Am Synagogue

Ned Himmelrich
ACHARAI: The Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Leadership Institute

Heidi Hoffman
Beth Israel Congregation

Emily Honick
Goucher College Hillel

Jennifer Kaplan

David Kramer
Hebrew Free Loan Association

Gary Perolman
Temple Isaiah

Elaine Richman
Bolton Street Synagogue

Jeff Rubin

Calla Samuels
Israel Bonds

Larry Seegull
Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School

Lee Sheller
Johns Hopkins Hillel

Rachael Simon
Jewish Federation of Howard County

Vicki Spira
Temple Oheb Shalom

Neil Sweren
Beth Tfiloh Congregation

Leslie Windman
Friends of the Israel Defense Force (FIDF)


ACHARAI’s active Alumni Committee, under the leadership of ACHARAI Board member and Class V alumnus Fred Heyman, has planned a wonderful year of exciting alumni events under the theme of “L’Dor V’Dor: Leadership from One Generation to the Next.” The focus of alumni activities is to facilitate continued networking for Fellows alumni and connectivity to lifelong learning opportunities throughout the greater Baltimore Jewish community.



Position, Organization: First Vice Chair, Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore; Immediate Past President, Beth Israel Congregation

Affiliation with ACHARAI: Alumna of Class V, Volunteer

What did you like best about being an ACHARAI Fellow?
The knowledge, insight and clarity that each faculty member brought to every class, as well as the opportunity to learn and share ideas with my classmates, who are passionate, caring and so willing to share their perspectives and expertise.

What is the most valuable skill you took away from the ACHARAI Fellows Program?
I think that the most important concept I learned is that when our leadership is sincere and rooted in our shared Jewish values, it is much easier to build trust and consensus. I think that the most valuable skill I learned was the importance of developing relationships in order to be adaptive. It is hard to take on the challenges of an organization, but it becomes less daunting when you focus not only on the change that is needed, but acknowledge and respect the mental models of those you are charged to lead.


With the launch of Class VII of the ACHARAI Fellows Program, we have:
• partnered with 68 organizations to develop their rising top leaders
• created a core of 143 alumni
• conducted a total of 6 Presidents Circles over the past 3 years (one for sitting synagogue presidents and one for sitting organization/agency presidents, convened annually)