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Interview with Erik Ludwig, Director of the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

  • 03/29/2016 10:56 AM
    Message # 3917105

    Tell us a bit about your current position, what you do, and how long you’ve served in this position.

    >>As the director of the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, I have the privilege of shaping the Jewish future by preparing our students for leadership careers in the Jewish community. The Zelikow School, as we affectionately call it, is a small school with a big mandate: to equip Jewish professionals with the business acumen and entrepreneurial mindset to lead in the 21st century, while drawing on our shared tradition of 32 centuries past. Our responsibility to the community is to develop inspirational leaders who are outstanding people rooted in Jewish wisdom and trained to implement the bold visions needed to advance and transform the Jewish experience.

    Tell us one thing we'd never guess about you.

    >> The Grateful Dead is always in my playlist and, perhaps not surprisingly, Cherry Garcia is my favorite ice cream flavor.

    What are a couple of things you attribute to your success?

    >>Success is always a team effort. I have been lucky in the twenty or so years that I have been a Jewish communal professional to be surrounded by smart, talented, and committed professional and lay leaders. If there is a secret ingredient to some of the success along the way it is in a commitment to the messy process of bringing divergent and inspirational thinkers and tinkerers together to solve uniquely Jewish problems. Having lots of friends helps too.

    Name one area/subject you would like to learn more about.

    >> Currently, I am captivated by the concept of the religious “nones” and how this category of people will (re)shape an understanding of identity that is more bricolage and a sense of communal belonging that is responsive and fluid. There is a lot of territory to explore and questions to be asked. It is, however, clear that Jewish identity, sense of belonging, and our communal structures are and will need to continue to be in dialogue in such a way as to synchronously shape and be shaped by this trend.

    What is the most challenging/rewarding part of your position?

    >>Teaching students and coaching alumni is an incredible honor and it nourishes my soul. I am lucky that my workspace is one where authentic caring is valued and considered a responsibility of the job.

    Favorite restaurant in Los Angeles/Southern California.

    >>Factor’s (Famous Deli). For the food, but also for the memories it evokes.

    Name a key challenge for the Jewish profession and how could JCPSC address that need.

    >>One of the key challenges for the Jewish professional field is the need to develop a leadership pipeline with the skillset to establish and maintain sustainable organizations, and do so in a Jewish communal landscape that is increasingly dynamic and in which one’s neighborhood is no longer defined by the street one lives on. The challenge has animated many of our Jewish professional and lay leaders and seen the successful launch of Leading Edge. At the Zelikow School we have a unique two-fold role in developing pre-professionals and launching them into leadership roles in the Jewish community and in supporting current Jewish professionals as they strengthen their skillset to advance their careers. However, the challenge is greater than any one organization and will require Jewish communal professionals to embrace new thinking around partnership as part of the professional development pipeline. JCPSC and its network of talented Jewish communal professionals will be a tremendous asset as we begin to think communally about building and strengthening the Jewish leadership pipeline.

    Last modified: 03/29/2016 11:33 AM | Anonymous
Jewish Communal Professionals of Southern California (JCPSC)
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