We were struck by last week’s opinion article regarding the paucity of new, young leadership poised to take over the reins of Jewish communal organizations (“Filling The Leadership Void: A Proposal,” Oct. 8). We couldn’t agree more with Ivan Ciment: It is imperative that our communal institutions prepare for a robust future by recruiting and mentoring a new pool of leadership.
However, we would like to point out that there are already a number of programs that train and mentor young leaders (such as the Federation Executive Recruitment & Educational Program and the Wexner Fellows), and even some that inspire them to come to the table in the first place. The Collegiate Leadership Internship Program (CLIP) is one such program that recruits future leaders by introducing college students to Jewish communal life and sensitizing them to Jewish policy issues. CLIP — a paid summer program housed at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University — matches students with meaningful internships in both for-profits and nonprofits around the city. The students then gather together once a week for daylong seminars focusing on issues of Jewish policy and identity, professionalism and leadership. Summer after summer, the program has proven immensely successful at exposing students to the work of our community’s organizations, and inspiring them to take on both professional and lay leadership roles. CLIP’s partner organizations –— the Bronfman Center, UJA-Federation of New York, FEGS Health and Human Services System, the Jewish Communal Fund, and Jewish Foundation for Education of Women — already recognize the value that this kind of program provides to the Jewish community.
As we think about how to invest further in our community’s future, we should take a look at models already on the ground and see what we can learn from them. If Ciment goes forward with his idea for a summer leadership academy, we recommend that he first speak with one of CLIP’s many success stories to get some ideas.
Collegiate Leadership Internship Program
Executive Director, Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU
Vice President of Community and
Foundation Relations, F.E.G.S. Health
and Human Services System