J Leaders Academy
Impactful Leadership Development Illuminated by Jewish Wisdom
Thanks for your interest in the J Leaders Academy. We’re currently in the middle of the 2023-24 Academy and not accepting new applications. We encourage you to add your name to our email list. We’ll let you know when the application period is open for the 2024-25 Academy. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to email@example.com.
The J Leaders Academy is a cohort-based leadership program for Jewish young adults interested in…
- Developing their personal and professional leadership abilities,
- Becoming more engaged in the Jewish community, and
- Making an impact both locally and globally.
Connect with Exceptional Jewish Young Professionals
One of the most valuable aspects of the Academy are the life-long connections developed with other fellows through engaging and immersive learning activities.
Engage with World-Class Leadership Experts
Fellows engage directly with prominent business and community leaders throughout the program.
Join the J Leaders Community
Alumni activities provide one-on-one mentorships with experienced Jewish leaders, alumni fireside chats with prominent leaders, access to the J Leaders Innovation Fund Mini Grant program, and community shabbat dinners.
A Welcome Message from Sim Sitkin Ph.D, Duke Fuqua School of Business Professor of Leadership
In the Words of our Alumni
2023-24 Academy Presenters (Partial List)
Noah Alper – Noah’s Bagels Founder & Former CEO on “Leading with your Values”
Jamie Rapaport Barry – JRB Consulting & Former Chief of Staff and Brand Strategy at Upstart and Mimi Kravetz – Jewish Federations of North America, Chief Impact & Growth Officer on “The Power of a Purpose-Driven Team – How Small Groups Drive Innovation and Success””
Arnnon Geshuri – Teladoc Health Chief People Officer on “Emotional Intelligence”
Morghan King – 2016 Olympian & American Weightlifter
Monica Rodriguez Kuniyoshi – Gunderson Dettmer Chief Marketing Officer on “Inclusive Leadership”
Tina Rosenblum Ph.D. – Strategy & Communications Expert on “Effective Communications and Storytelling”
Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia – Senior Director of Collaborative Leadership and Jewish Engagement for Jewish Silicon Valley, Academy Co-Facilitator
What’s the curriculum for the Academy?
The J Leaders Academy program is designed in three cascading phases:
- Fall – Personal Empowerment
- Winter – Building & Leading High Performance Teams
- Spring – Being a Force for Good in an Organization & the World
2023-24 J Leaders Academy Syllabus
Presenters still being finalized; Schedule subject to change.
- Wednesday, October 25, 6 to 7:30 pm Pacific Standard Time – Kick-off & Academy Orientation Session (Zoom 1)
- Friday, November 10, 4 pm to Sunday, November 12, 1 pm PST – Fall Weekend Retreat (in-Person, Mount Madonna Center, Watsonville, CA )
- Wednesday, November 29, 6 to 7:30 pm PST – Changing the World from the Inside Out (Zoom 2)
- Wednesday, December 6, 6 to 7:30 pm PST – Life Balance – Managing Time and Stress (Zoom 3)
- Friday, December 15, 6:30 pm PST – Shabbat Dinner (in-Person)
- Wednesday, January 3, 6 to 7:30 pm PST – Leading with your Values (Zoom 4)
- Wednesday, January 17, 6 to 7:30 pm PST – Creating your own personal board of advisors (Zoom 5)
- Friday, February 2, 4 pm to Sunday, February 4, 1 pm PST – Winter Weekend Retreat (in-Person, Mount Madonna Center, Watsonville, CA )
- Wednesday, February 7, 6 to 7:30 pm PST – Communicate effectively through impactful storytelling Part 1 (Zoom 6)
- Wednesday, February 21, 6 to 7:30 pm PST – Communicate effectively through impactful storytelling Part 2 (Zoom 7)
- Wednesday, March 6, 6 to 7:30 pm PST – The Power of a Purpose-Driven Team (Zoom 8)
- Wednesday, March 20, 6 to 7:30 pm PST – Learned Lessons (Zoom 9)
- Sunday, April 7, 11 am to 4:30 pm PST – Final Session & Commencement (In-Person and Zoom)
What are the small group community impact projects?
The small groups process uses project-based learning to reinforce Academy concepts and skills for fellows. Small groups are a critical component of the Academy, and offer a chance to form deeper relationships with a small subgroup of the cohort. Small groups of 4-5 fellows select their own community impact project – a virtual or in-person event held through a collaboration with another Jewish young adult organization. Small groups do most of their work on their project outside of regular Academy sessions.
For organizations interested in being considered by a small group for a project collaboration, please complete the following form.
What does “illuminated by Jewish wisdom” mean?
Jewish wisdom provides insights and timeless principles that can guide personal growth, ethical decision-making, and pursuit of meaningful leadership roles. Throughout the J Leaders Academy, we explore topics such as ethical leadership, emotional intelligence, community building, effective communications, and building high performing teams. By integrating Jewish wisdom with practical leadership skills, we aim to empower our fellows to become compassionate, insightful, and impactful leaders in their communities and beyond.
However you define and express your Jewish identity, you are welcome. For More about J Leaders’ principle of “illuminated by Jewish Wisdom” click here.
Who facilitates the Academy?
The 2023-2024 J leaders Academy will be facilitated by Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia and other members of the J Leaders Academy steering committee. As well, throughout the Academy experience, fellows are encouraged to introduce presenters and facilitate sessions – as they are comfortable and interested.
Academy Steering Committee:
- Sarah Feldman, J Leaders Board of Directors
- Peter Hoffman, Founder and CEO of J Leaders
- Alex Mayorkis, Assistant Academy Director
- Denise Sandel, J Leaders National Council Director
- Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia, Senior Director of Collaborative Leadership and Jewish Engagement at Jewish Silicon Valley
What if I can’t make all the sessions? Is participation in all sessions required?
J Leaders understands that there are times when fellows are not able to attend every session. That said, if you know that you will not be able to attend weekend retreats or more than 2 virtual sessions, we respectfully request that you not apply, and allow someone else to take that space.
We reserve the right to ask participants to leave the program if they have too many absences. We are not able to refund the registration fee for anyone who leaves the program, whether our decision or yours. We are happy to discuss your specific situation. Please contact the Academy leadership team if you have questions.
Can you share more about the J Leaders Alumni Community?
Once you graduate from the J Leaders Academy, you become a part of a vibrant community of Jewish young adults with additional networking and professional development opportunities available to you. J Leaders alumni programs include the 6-month mentorship program, the J Leaders Innovation Fund Mini-Grant program (apply for up to $250/year) Fireside Chats with Jewish business and community leaders, J Leaders Shabbat dinners, serving on the J Leaders National Council, and leadership roles on the Academy steering committee.
Who has presented at previous J Leaders Academies?
You can see a list of all previous J Leaders Academy presenters here.
Is the J Leaders Academy in-person or virtual?
The J Leaders Leadership Academy is a six-month blended learning program that combines face-to-face and virtual learning. The 2023-24 J Leaders Academy includes two Shabbaton weekend retreats, a Sunday retreat (in-person and virtual), two in-person shabbat dinners, and nine virtual sessions. Zoom sessions are typically held every other Wednesday evening from 6 to 7:30 pm PT.
When does the Academy start?
The J Leaders Academy kick-offs with a Zoom session on Wednesday, October 25, from 6 to 7:30 pm PT.
Where are Shabbaton weekend retreats held?
The weekend retreats are an integral part of the Academy program. Both retreats will be held at the beautiful Mount Madonna Center, located in the Santa Cruz mountains with a view of Monterey Bay. The Academy includes retreats on November 10-12, 2023 and February 2-4, 2024. Weekend retreats will start with a Friday night Shabbat opening reception and dinner, and then go through Sunday lunch. The Mount Madonna Center serves freshly prepared, healthy vegetarian meals.
What are the guest room accommodations for the weekend retreats?
The Mount Madonna Center provides guest rooms for one, two or three fellows per room. The base tuition cost is for three guests per room. Two person and private rooms are available, based on an additional fee to cover the additional cost. We will do our best to accommodate requests based on room availability.
Can you provide more details about the final session and commencement?
The final session of the Academy will be a one-day hybrid (both in-person and virtual) session on Sunday, April 7, 2023 from 11 am to 4:30 pm PT. The commencement ceremony ends the program with a commencement address, small group capstone project 5 minute reports and the presentation of certificates. An informal celebration dinner is provided after the commencement for fellows, alumni, family and friends.
What’s the selection criteria for applicants?
The selection process will be based on the following guidelines:
- 25 to 39 years old
- Humble, Hungry and Smart
- Upfront commitment to attend all/most sessions including retreats
- Exhibit leadership traits in their personal, professional, or volunteer life
- Desire for self-reflection and self-improvement
- Interest in exploring and learning more about Jewish values and wisdom
- Interest in giving back to and making a difference in the Jewish community and making the world a better place
- Agreement to attend both weekend retreats, the final commencement session (in-pers0n and Virtual), and not miss more than 2 virtual sessions
- Submission of online application
These are guidelines intended to help select fellows who are most able to fully benefit from the J Leaders Academy experience. Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions or want to discuss any of these selection criteria.
I’m outside the age range. Can I still be considered?
Yes, the criteria are general guidelines only.
I’m not Jewish. Can I still be considered?
Yes, the Academy is open to participants who are not Jewish. That said, please share in your application why you’re interested in being in a “Jewish” leadership program.
Can I be considered if I don’t have a leadership or managerial role at work?
Yes. The Academy is designed for Jewish young adults who want to make a difference as an influencer of others. Being an impactful leader requires a desire to step-up and make a difference, and a commitment to grow your personal/professional skills.
What’s the process for selecting fellows?
The application process is your chance to tell your story about why you should be selected to be in the J Leaders Academy. Online Application
Finalists will be interviewed by representatives of the J Leaders Academy leadership team. Interviews allow J Leaders to better understand your qualifications and interest, and equally important, provide you the chance to ask questions and learn more about the program.
What’s the tuition for the Academy?
Tuition starts at $649, based on your selection of a retreat sleeping room.
|Tuition (July 31 – August 31)
|3-Person Room for both Retreats
|Double Room for both Retreats*
|Private Room for both Retreats*
(* The additional fee for double and private guest rooms covers our increased cost from the retreat center.)
Would my company reimburse me for J Leaders Academy tuition?
Perhaps. It’s worth exploring. Some past fellows have successfully been reimbursed for their J Leaders Academy tuition by their employer. We encourage you to find out if your company or organization reimburses for professional development. As well, consider if you know any community organizations (Jewish, service organizations, foundations, etc) who might provide you a scholarship to cover your tuition.
What’s included in the tuition?
The J Leaders Academy tuition includes two full weekend retreats (includes accommodations, food and meeting space), the final session and commencement (includes lunch and dinner), two online assessments, nine virtual sessions, two Shabbat dinners, the small group community impact project, some fun J Leaders’ branded swag (a journal, mug and pen), and more. The true cost of the Academy is over $4,000 per fellow.
How can I receive a $100 “Full Participation” stipend at the end of the Academy?
J Leaders will send fellows a $100 stipend at the conclusion of the Academy to fellows who:
- Attend both weekend retreats (November 10-12 and February 2-4)
- Attend the final session & commencement (Sunday, April 21)
- Attend at least seven Zoom sessions
- Complete the four program evaluations:
- Pre Academy
- Post Fall Retreat
- Post Winter Retreat
- Post Academy
Is financial aid available?
The cost of the J Leaders Academy is heavily subsidized thanks to the generous support of our many generous donors. Even so, we recognize that this subsidized rate may still not be affordable for everyone. The J Leaders board of directors is committed to ensuring that the Academy is accessible to all qualified prospective fellows, regardless of their economic circumstances.
Financial aid is available that provides for a 3-person shared room at both retreats. At a minimum, we ask fellows receiving financial aid to pay at least 20% of the tuition. J Leaders will award financial aid on the basis of demonstrated need and the availability of funds. Financial aid decisions are made independently from program acceptance decisions, and will not affect a candidate’s chances of acceptance. As fellows’ financial circumstances change in the future, we encourage them to pay-it-forward to other deserving candidates through their donations.
Does J Leaders offer a Jews of Color Scholarship?
Yes. J Leaders provides a Jews of Color (JoC) scholarship for those Jews from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Please use the Jews of Color Initiative’s definition of the term to help you decide if you qualify. The JoC scholarship is not based on financial need. We encourage you to consider applying for the JoC scholarship in the application. Learn more about J Leaders commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging.
Is there homework?
The two required books for the Academy are:
- Changing the World from the Inside Out: A Jewish Approach to Personal and Social Change, Rabbi David Jaffe (To Purchase Through Amazon)
- The Six Domains of Leadership, E. Allan Lind Ph.D. and Sim Sitkin Ph.D. (free PDF)
Additional supplementary reading and video materials will be recommended for some of the sessions. As well, the Six Domains of Leadership Self-Assessment and the Working Genius Self-Assessment will provide fellows with important insights for understanding their own strengths and competencies.
What if I’m from outside the SF Bay Area?
If I live in an area outside of the Greater SF Bay Area can I apply for the Academy?
Yes, you are welcome to apply. Our hybrid in-person/Zoom approach allows fellows to participate from outside of the SF Bay Area, with the understanding that you agree to attend both weekend retreats in-person (November 10-12 and February 2-4). With an exception of the Shabbat dinners, all other aspects of the program are accessible virtually.
If I’m with a Jewish communal organization outside of the SF Bay Area (a Jewish Federation, JCC, national Jewish organization serving Jewish young adults, or another Jewish non-profit), can I bring a leadership academy to my geographic area?
One of the guiding principles of J Leader’s is the importance of partnering with other like-minded Jewish organizations towards our shared vision of empowering and engaging Jewish young adults through values-based leadership development. J leaders is pleased to collaborate with Jewish communal organizations interested in increased engagement their Jewish young adult community.
We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about partnering with you to bring The J Leaders’ Leadership Academy and/or J leaders mentorship program to your community. For more information on bringing the J Leaders Academy to your area, please contact J Leaders.