Lapid participants meet with Dr. Lynne B Harrison and Hillel leaders during a training seminar in Washington, D.C.
Early career Hillel professionals from around the world will have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills with the launch of Hillel’s new global initiative, LAPID -- the Leadership and Professional International Development Initiative for Early Career Hillel Professionals.
LAPID, which means “torch” in Hebrew, was conceived to nurture professionals at Hillels throughout the world while advancing Hillel’s entrepreneurial engagement efforts. Fifteen talented individuals were selected to participate in this initiative, designed for professionals who are excited about the opportunity to evolve personally and professionally within the “Hillel family” and are passionate about social justice and leadership issues. (Meet members of the first LAPID class.)
Led by Nati Sperber, Hillel’s director of program professional development, this year-long initiative will help LAPID participants to refine and develop their work with students. Providing its professionals with practical tools, mentorship, a unique cohort of international colleagues, and seed funding for a leadership initiative, LAPID aims to significantly develop student leadership and social justice on their respective campuses. LAPID participants will help students create their own tzedek (social justice) initiatives on or off campus and in their local communities. And, to ensure personal growth opportunities, these professionals will also explore their own identity, values and leadership potential in a Jewish context.
“Programs such as LAPID are the result of the incredible relationships developed between our professionals and lay leaders who share a commitment to inspiring Jewish students at Hillels throughout the world, said Hillel Executive Vice President Scott Brown. “Thanks to the generosity and passion of International Board of Governors member Dr. Lynne B Harrison, we are able to create this new initiative.”
Throughout the year, the LAPID cohort members will participate in two mandatory seminars (December 2009 and spring 2010), site visits, monthly personal mentoring by a lay leader, bi-monthly conversations with Hillel’s Director of Program Professional Development Nati Sperber, monthly Web-based training, and “one-on-one” training when needed. This high level support is not only an investment in furthering leadership, tzedek and engagement efforts on their respective campuses, but also an opportunity to help strengthen professionals’ Jewish identity and self-confidence.
“One of my top goals for the coming year is to provide educational and outreach opportunities in order to help Jewish students on their Jewish journeys,” said LAPID participant and Hillel of Metro Detroit’s Director of Jewish Student Life Neil Cantor. “I believe as a professional, I should challenge students to learn more about themselves and more about their Jewish community.”
Meet LAPID participants. They are: Veronica Albert, assistant program director, Hillel Uruguay; Neil A. Cantor, director of Jewish student life, Hillel of Metro Detroit; Natalia Etkin, program coordinator, Hillel Buenos Aires (Argentina); Erica Frankel, program coordinator, Arts on the Move, NYU Hillel; Gennady Gerovich, program director, Hillel at the College of Staten Island; Alana Kayfetz, executive director, Hillel Ottawa (Canada); Jason Leivenberg, engagement associate, Santa Barbara Hillel; Eric Marcus, program director, Hillel of Cleveland; Natalia Namgaladze, program coordinator, Hillel Tbilisi (Georgia); Leah Newman, program director, Hillel of San Diego UCSD; Jaime Reich, emerging campuses associate, Hillel of Toronto, Canada; Corey Smith, co-associate director, programming and engagement, Hillel of New Orleans; Gady Tenezer, program director, Hillel of Sapir College, Sderot (Israel); Gonzalo Valenci, programs coordinator, Hillel Cordoba (Argentina); Aleksandra (Sasha) Zolbina, assistant director, Hillel of Odessa (Ukraine).